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Yesterday I attended a government briefing on the release of Ontario's long-term energy plan. I walked away pleased that the government was staying the course on developing a green and reliable electricity system that Ontarians can be proud of. This government has been criticized for recent increases to electricity bills, and it would have been easy to back down from their plans and instead move forward with a cheaper, dirtier plan — but they did not, and for this they should be commended.
When Canada's federal government published an update to its regulatory approach for heavy industry this month, environmentalists hoped that this much-criticized proposal had been strengthened. Instead, it offered a mixed bag that probably served to weaken an already feeble approach.
I have often marveled at how seriously Japan takes emergency preparedness, without which the casualty rate from the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami would have been far, far greater.
Yet as we watch the drama unfold, we would be reckless not to consider the implications of Japan's nuclear crisis for our own energy system. Canadian energy planners and politicians, particularly those in Ontario who are pushing for a nuclear renaissance, must draw lessons from the Fukushima nuclear crisis. In short: we should be planning to phase out nuclear power, not aid its rebirth.
Saskatchewan can cut its greenhouse gas pollution while creating nearly 50,000 net new jobs in the next decade, says a recent Pembina Institute/David Suzuki Foundation report. The provincial economy would grow by two per cent annually while meeting the federal government's current emissions target, producing a GDP 22 per cent higher in 2020 than in 2010. As well, Saskatchewan would gain more jobs while meeting that target than it would under business-as-usual.
The $100 million made off with by unscrupulous Ontario lottery retailers pales in comparison to the jackpot hit by Bruce Power when it signed a deal to rebuild nuclear reactors at the Bruce Nuclear Station.
The Ontario Power Authority admits that nuclear has exceeded the threshold where it is no longer a cost-effective energy option. To build a sustainable energy economy and guarantee the phase-out of coal in 2014, we need cost-effective and flexible energy options that can be deployed quickly, not new nuclear plants that take at least a decade to build. Replacing the aging Pickering B nuclear station with green energy is the best opportunity to open up much needed grid space, and it would provide the Green Energy Act with the time, space and investment focus it needs to produce results.
This month, Ontario prudently decided that new nuclear reactors will not be part of the province’s forthcoming long-term energy plan. As Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli explained, “It is not wise to spend billions and billions of dollars on new nuclear when that power is not needed.”
That said, the government still appears to be committed to refurbishing the 10 existing reactors at the Bruce and Darlington nuclear stations. Is that a wise investment?
Several prominent environmental scientists are grudgingly contemplating a role for nuclear power in the Alberta electricity system, a testament to just how catastrophic and certain the implications of accelerating global warming are.
Minister Gary Lunn has become an increasingly vocal promoter of nuclear power, most recently in a speech to the Economic Club in Toronto last month.
Minister Gary Lunn has become an increasingly vocal promoter of the idea of using nuclear power as an alternative energy source to natural gas for developing Alberta's oilsands.
Ontario’s Green Energy Act could unlock the province’s green energy potential and establish a path for developing a system that is more decentralized, efficient, cleaner and smarter; but this requires a concrete plan with aggressive targets and the right incentives, and the political will to break with old patterns.
Last week we learned that Ontario set up a Climate Change Secretariat to coordinate and implement Ontario's climate plan. The secretariat is a good move, but it needs to have the authority to ensure all ministries are accountable and the muscle to wrestle with Ontario's strongest lobbies.
Ontario’s electricity system is often maligned, and more often misunderstood. Providing a multi-billion dollar essential service that employs thousands of people in competing industries is a tall order — doubly so when you’re trying to keep pollution levels and prices down. As we head into a new year, it’s important to take a step back and acknowledge some important gains the province has made so far.
Ontario faces a looming energy crunch. Pembina's solution is to reject more nuclear plants and consider conservation and alternative energy instead.
Mark Winfield explains on CBC radio's Commentary.
A full and informed public debate about Alberta's electricity future is long overdue. Given the rapid and sustained global investment in renewable energy, this debate is only half-complete if renewable energy is not fully considered.
Alberta's recently released Nuclear Power Expert Panel report calls for a "debate" of the "relative risks/benefits (of nuclear energy) compared with alternatives." But the panel views nuclear energy through an uncritical lens and offers only a cursory and selective overview of the burgeoning array of green options already being deployed...
On June 18, the Ontario government announced long-awaited targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The big question that remains is how the government actually plans to meet these targets.
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