Media Release

Sep 26, 2007

New Report Says Nuclear Not Needed in Ontario

Cutting right through debates about who can build and refurbish nuclear power plants faster, a new report finally shows that nukes are not needed to meet base load power demand in Ontario.

The Basics on Base Load, a solutions paper by the Pembina Institute shows that any combination of variable and dispatchable power plants (such as renewable energy) can be used to meet base load as long as together they provide a reliable continuous power supply for all parts of the Province.  

"Saying we need nuclear plants to meet base load demand in Ontario is like saying you need a mainframe computer to access the internet," says Keith Stewart of WWF-Canada.  "It may have been the case in the past, but the next generation energy system will be leaner, greener and a lot more flexible."

The report follows the groundbreaking "Renewable is Doable" study by the Pembina Institute and WWF-Canada and finally answers the question: How is it Doable?  The report presents a suite of policy and technological tools to make energy efficiency, renewable energy and co-generation and waste-heat recycling the primary source of energy to meet base load demand in Ontario.

"We looked at other jurisdictions, we looked at Ontario's potential, and our report shows this can be done," says Roger Peters, Senior Technical and Policy Advisor with the Pembina Institute and primary author of the report. "More conservation and efficiency, a distributed mix of smaller renewable power sources, a smart grid network, and power storage technologies could provide a more robust and less costly method of meeting base load in Ontario."

Electoral candidates meanwhile have been claiming that nuclear energy is needed to meet base load demand to keep the lights on and run Ontario's industry.  

 "Don't let people tell you we can't keep the lights on without nuclear," says Shawn-Patrick Stensil of Greenpeace Canada.  "We have the know-how and clean energy potential to build a modern energy system founded on renewable energy."

Base load power demand results from continuously running uses of electricity such as refrigerators, freezers, industrial motors, and other uses that do not have defined peaks in use. The Ontario Power Authority's  (OPA) 20 year electricity plan identifies a base load gap of 85 TWh to be met with nuclear power.  

The Pembina report outlines steps to reduce this gap to 48.5 TWh simply by pursuing the full potential for energy efficiency and conservation that the OPA itself has identified as cost-effective and achievable, as well as with co-generation, waste heat recycling and fuel substitution programs. Then, the report presents a series of renewable energy and smart grid policies and technologies to meet this residual power demand.

 "We are talking about maximizing the full potential of safe, clean energy and energy efficiency first," says Cherise Burda, Ontario Policy Director with the Pembina Institute. "This is opposite to the OPA plan which maximizes nuclear capacity and then low-balls the potential for conservation and renewable energy accordingly."

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The Basics on Base Load is available for download at www.pembina.org. All Renewable is Doable publications are available at www.renewableisdoable.ca

Contact:

Pembina Institute
Roger Peters, Senior Technical and Policy Advisor: 819-483-6288 ext 22
Cherise Burda, Ontario Policy Director: 416-644-1016 ext 1

WWF-Canada
Keith Stewart, Climate Change Campaign Manager, WWF-Canada
Tel: 416-489-4567 ext 7257
Cel: 416-985-5936

Greenpeace Canada
Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Canada
416-884-7053
(English/French)