A coalition of Canada's biggest environmental groups today called on the McGuinty government to shut down the Pickering B nuclear station and replace it with green power. Greenpeace, WWF, the David Suzuki Foundation, the Sierra Club and the Canadian Environmental Law Association endorsed a study produced by the Pembina Institute showing how Ontario could replace its ageing nuclear stations with conservation, renewables and waste heat recovery.
The report, Plugging Ontario Into A Green Future, lays out how clean power can produce enough baseload electricity to replace the ageing Pickering B and Bruce B nuclear stations as they reach the end of their lives and are shut down beginning in 2013.
Renewable energy in Ontario is currently capped because the government has opted to increase greenhouse gas emissions until expensive new replacement nuclear stations come online. After visiting countries like Germany and Spain this summer (both countries are leaders in renewable energy development and are phasing out their nuclear stations), Energy Minister Smitherman directed the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to enhance its targets for renewable energy, conservation and distributed energy.
It's great the Minister Smitherman wants to increase green energy, but the litmus test of his commitment will be whether he's willing to stand up to the nuclear lobby and take the cap off renewables. With more green power, Ontario won't need new nuclear plants.
Minister Smitherman's decision on how to replace the Pickering B nuclear station will be the first test of his commitment to green power.