“This plan reflects what we heard from thousands of people and dozens of organizations across the province” – Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy
Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli, released Ontario’s new Long Term Energy Plan (the “Plan”) on December 2. The Plan, entitled Achieving Balance, provides a blueprint for attaining clean, reliable and affordable energy in the province. According to Chiarelli, the Plan is focused on conservation and addresses regional needs. The plan is motivated by the balancing of five principles: cost-effectiveness, clean energy, reliability, community engagement, and an emphasis on conservation/demand management before building new generation.
Nuclear energy will continue to be the largest generator of Ontario’s electricity, but is expected to fall from 55% to 47% with adherence to the Plan. Nuclear refurbishment at Bruce Nuclear Generating Station and Darlington Generating Station are projected to begin in 2016, and Pickering Nuclear Generating Station is to be maintained until 2020. However, there will be no new nuclear facilities.
The Plan also extends the phasing-in of solar, wind, and bioenergy from 2018 until 2021. The goal is to procure 300 megawatts of wind, 140 megawatts of solar, and 50 megawatts of bioenergy for each of 2014 and 2015 so that 50% of Ontario’s installed generating capacity will be derived from a renewable source by 2025. Moreover, there will be a new competitive procurement process for renewable projects larger than 500 kilowatts.
It is forecasted that the Plan will reduce projected cost increases by $16 billion from 2013-2017 and $70 billion until 2030. This does not amount to a reduction in costs. While the Plan anticipates electricity rates that are lower than those described in the 2010 Long Term Energy Plan, Ontario homeowners and businesses will still experience a rise in their electricity rates over the next three years. Financing tools will be used to encourage consumers to retrofit their homes.
Demand Response programs will be expanded in order to achieve a 10% reduction in peak demand by 2025. The total conservation targets, however, have not drastically changed when considered in combination with other types of conservation.
Ontarians will be kept updated on supply/demand conditions, forecasts, and achievements through an annual Ontario Energy Report. There will also be a greater reliance on regional support such as partnerships with municipal and local communities; this may affect the approval of large wind projects.