Ontario backs replacing nuclear

31 August 2007

According to a new energy plan filed by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) with the province’s energy regulator, the Ontario Energy Board, conservation, renewable energy, nuclear and natural gas are to be the cornerstones of Ontario’s electricity future.

Described as an action plan with a 20-year outlook, the Integrated Power System Plan (IPSP) will be updated every three years. The plan’s estimated C$60billion ($48 billion) capital cost will be directed toward conservation initiatives, new renewable generation, natural gas distributed generation, nuclear generation and transmission capacity.

Designed to ensure a reliable, adequate and sustainable long-term electricity supply for the province, the plan is a roadmap for doubling renewable energy on the grid by 2025, phasing-out coal-fired generation by the end of 2014, refurbishment or replacement of the province’s baseload nuclear capacity, and any necessary transmission upgrades. The plan also includes one of the most ambitious electricity conservation efforts in North America.

With regard to nuclear capacity, the plan envisages a focus on maximising the cost effective contribution from energy efficiency, demand management, fuel switching, and customer based generation together with renewable sources. Any remaining baseload requirements will be met with nuclear power, including replacing existing coal-fired generation. Under the terms of the IPSP plan, installed in-service nuclear capacity will be limited to 14,000MWe over the life of the plan.

After the contributions from existing and committed supply, planned conservation and renewable resources are taken into account, there remains a baseload requirement of 85TWh that may be met by nuclear power or combined cycle gas turbine generation. However, the OPA’s analysis finds that, in light of the OPA’s planning criteria, “nuclear power is superior.” Refurbishment of existing nuclear facilities is the preferred option to increase nuclear capacity, although the plan adds that the most immediate implementation decision respecting refurbishment is with respect to Pickering B. If OPG decides to refurbish Pickering B, then the IPSP assumes that the associated capacity of 2064MWe will be installed by 2018 but if OPG decides not to refurbish Pickering B, then the plan assumes that the 2064MWe will be replaced at a later time by new nuclear resources.

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