Green energy more affordable than nuclear

Ontario government urged to review nuclear commitments in upcoming energy plan

TORONTO — Ontario’s next long-term energy plan would better serve electricity ratepayers if it did not include new nuclear reactors, and reviewed alternatives to repairing the province’s aging reactors, says a new report from the Pembina Institute and Greenpeace.

The report, titled Renewable is Doable: Affordable and flexible options for Ontario's long-term energy plan, shows that past forecasts have overestimated the province’s demand for electricity in the coming decade, resulting in plans for more unnecessary nuclear reactors. Investing in a portfolio of conservation and green energy options is a more cost-effective way to meet Ontario’s evolving energy needs. These green energy sources can be built in incremental steps, avoiding the cost overruns associated with large nuclear projects.

This new analysis comes as the Ontario government is reviewing its long-term energy plan, which sets the province’s future electricity mix.

Ontario’s current long-term energy plan arbitrarily commits to generating 50 per cent of the province’s electricity with nuclear, regardless of both the financial and environmental costs. Removing this requirement from the next energy plan would allow more affordable green alternatives to compete with nuclear power.


 “The numbers are clear. New nuclear reactors would be providing Ontario with power it doesn’t need at a price it can’t afford.”
– Tim Weis, Director of Renewable Energy and Efficiency Policy, Pembina Institute

“It makes no financial or environmental sense that Ontario’s long-term energy plan doesn’t consider alternatives to spending billions on nuclear, especially when green energy costs are falling and many countries are abandoning nuclear altogether.”
– Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Energy Analyst, Greenpeace

Quick facts

  • According data acquired through a freedom of information request to the Independent Electricity System Operator, Ontario’s grid electricity demand will drop to 1992 levels by 2022. This will make two proposed new nuclear reactors at Darlington unnecessary.
  • The electricity generated by new reactors is estimated to cost more than 15 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), while a portfolio of green alternatives could provide the same energy for just over 10 cents per kWh.
  • No nuclear reactor in Ontario has ever been built or rebuilt on time and on budget. Past nuclear projects have gone over budget by anywhere from 40 to 250 per cent.
  • Green energy options can be built in increments better suited to Ontario’s evolving electricity needs, while taking advantage of declines in renewable energy costs, most notably for solar power.


Download a copy of Renewable is Doable: Affordable and flexible options for Ontario's long-term energy plan.


Shawn-Patrick Stensil (English / français)
Energy Analyst, Greenpeace
Phone: 416-884-7053

Tim Weis (English / français)
Director of Renewable Energy and Efficiency Policy, Pembina Institute
Cell: 780-667-6519
Phone: 780-485-9610 x105

Bernard Rudny (English / français)
Communications Lead, Pembina Institute
Cell: 416-993-2455
Phone: 647-478-9563 x217


Report: Ontario's Green Energy Plan 2.0

Get our Pembina Perspectives

Pembina Perspectives provides provides thoughtful, evidence-based research and analysis to support action on climate — in your inbox every two weeks.

We endeavour to protect your confidentiality; read our full privacy policy.