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Ontario needs gas-fired electricity

Business community challenges feasibility and value of phasing out gas-fired generation
Ontario Power Generation gas plant
(Ontario Power Generation photo)

TORONTO – May 5, 2021: The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) released the following statement in response to motions calling for the Government of Ontario to eliminate gas-fired electricity generation.

We are urging the Ontario government not to phase out gas-fired electricity so that industry can adequately balance environmental and economic objectives in Ontario.

“Since phasing out coal-fired generation, Ontario has one of the cleanest electricity systems in North America. Eliminating gas-fired generation now would not only undermine the flexibility and affordability of our energy system, but it is also not an effective or practical approach to further reducing our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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“The OCC and CME firmly believe Ontario needs a well-balanced energy system. Electricity only accounts for about 3 percent of Ontario’s emissions, with the main sources being transportation, industry, and buildings. Further decarbonization can be achieved most cost-effectively by leveraging existing and emerging technologies, including hydrogen, renewable natural gas, energy storage, small modular reactors, and geothermal energy.

“Currently, natural gas is the only resource capable of meeting peak demand periods year-round. New nuclear, renewable energy, energy storage, and other assets may all be part of the solution in the future. Until then, demand growth over the next decade will require flexible assets that can be readily deployed, particularly as the economy expands and nuclear generators undergo refurbishment.

“Importing hydro from other provinces is also not an option as existing transmission lines will not provide sufficient capacity and expanding that capacity will require long lead times. Further, Québec is forecasting its own supply challenges over the next decade as it uses electrification to curb emissions.

“We are also deeply concerned about affordability. Replacing the more than 11,300 MW of transmission-connected gas-fired generators in Ontario by 2030 – or nearly a third of total installed supply capacity across the province – will cost in the tens of billions of dollars for businesses and residents. This will have devastating implications for ratepayers and/or taxpayers as Ontario faces post-pandemic economic recovery.”