Least-Cost Analysis for Ontario Climate Plan Favours Efficiency, Renewables Over Nuclear
A fiscally responsible climate and electricity strategy for Ontario wouldn’t rely on expensive refurbishments of obsolete nuclear generating stations, the Ontario Clean Air Alliance argues in an analysis issued earlier this month.
“Nuclear energy is a costly way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the report concludes. “Within a decade, nuclear power will cost more than three times what we could be paying for Quebec power today, and up to 10 times as much as what we could pay for energy efficiency improvements that reduce the need to generate electricity in the first place.”
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OCAA notes that Ontario Power Generation “is now proposing to raise its price of nuclear power from 5.9 to 16.5¢/kWh by 2025 (a 180% price increase) to pay for the Pickering life extension and the Darlington Rebuild. If the Darlington Rebuild goes over budget, the price of nuclear power will rise by more.”
A comparative analysis in the report shows nuclear generation coming in at C$383 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions, compared to $355 for solar, $110 for wind, and $31 for imports of wind-generated electricity from Quebec. Hydro imports from Quebec and two forms of energy efficiency actually come in at negative costs per tonne—ranging from -$14 to -$134—since they cost less than the natural gas-fired generation they would replace.
Ontario’s ambitious climate action plan could increase electricity demand, and “we will need to meet that demand with low- or zero-GHG power at the lowest possible cost given the impact of rising electricity rates on consumers and businesses in Ontario and the need to make this transition economically feasible,” OCAA cautions.