Green energy more affordable than nuclear

Feature story - September 10, 2013
Investing in green energy is more affordable than spending more money on nuclear power. That’s the conclusion of a new analysis published by Greenpeace and the Pembina Institute.

The report comes at an important time. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne wants to rewrite Ontario’s long term electricity plan. The current plan, written by her predecessor Dalton McGuinty, instructs Ontario’s electricity planners to buy 50% of the province’s electricity from reactor operators.

That commits us to buying nuclear energy first, regardless of the cost or environmental risks. 

It also limits the use of renewable energy and energy conservation because it tells Ontario’s electricity planners: stop conservation programs and buying renewable power. 

Our report, “Renewable is Doable:Affordable and flexible options for Ontario's long term energy plan”, shows that this ‘nuclear first’ approach is both high cost and high risk for Ontario.

It concludes that:

  • New reactors are unneeded. Ontario’s grid electricity demand will drop to 1992 levels by 2022 according to data acquired through Freedom of Information. This will make the two proposed new nuclear reactors at Darlington unnecessary.
  • New reactors are much more expensive than renewable energy. 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.
  • And green energy could replace existing reactors.  A portfolio of renewable energy and conservation is financially competitive with plans to repair aging reactors at Darlington.  As nuclear costs have only ever increased and renewable costs are dropping, we should review our alternatives to keeping aging reactors running.

The conclusion of this report is clear: Ontario’s next energy plan should drop its wrong-headed commitment to nuclear power.

It makes no financial or environmental sense for Ontario’s long-term energy plan to include spending billions on nuclear, and ignore alternatives especially when green energy costs are falling.

To protect electricity consumers Premier Kathleen Wynne’s long-term electricity plans should drop any strategy involving new reactors and, at a minimum, review alternatives to repairing the province’s current reactors.

Join us in telling Premier Wynne to support renewable energy and conservation here.