A new electricity roadmap released by the Ontario government mentions some development of renewables, but critics say there is very little substance to the plan.

As far as Keith Brooks, programs director at Environmental Defence, is concerned, “it’s not really a plan.” He notes the federal government has a clear goal of achieving net-zero electricity across Canada by 2035. However, Ontario’s only mention of net zero is when referring to the need to up its nuclear power.

The roadmap, unveiled Monday, “doesn't forecast what kind of a supply mix Ontario is going to have in the future. It doesn't make a commitment to net zero in any year ... it doesn't really forecast and talk about the price of electricity going forward because it's not forward-looking,” he said.

“It is an after-the-fact rationalization for decisions that this government has made in recent months without much public oversight.”

Last week, the government announced a new large-scale nuclear plant at Bruce Power on the shore of Lake Huron along with three new small modular reactors at the site of the Darlington nuclear plant east of Toronto. This follows the Progressive Conservative government cancelling 750 clean energy contracts, including a wind farm already under construction in Prince Edward County, during its first term, which cost the government $231 million.

After the Bruce Power announcement, the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, composed of the Saugeen First Nation and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, said they will not support any new projects on their territory until there is a solution to storing Canada’s nuclear waste.

The nuclear plant, which would be the province’s largest nuclear power project in more than 30 years, needs environmental approval from the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, meaning even if it is approved, it won’t be opening any time soon. The Ontario government said large-scale nuclear power projects typically have a lead time "of a decade or more," which Brooks stresses is too far in the future to address the current climate crisis and the immediate need to reduce emissions.

While nuclear energy doesn’t use fossil fuels to generate electricity, opponents say energy sources like solar and wind are cheaper, don’t produce harmful nuclear waste and can be deployed much quicker than nuclear.

However, gas is a planet-warming fossil fuel and in May, Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) announced new proposals had been accepted to build two new gas-fired plants in the province. The operator also said six existing gas plants will be expanding their generating capacity.

The plan is "an after-the-fact rationalization for decisions that this government has made in recent months without much public oversight,” said @keithdbrooks of @envirodefence.

The province’s greenhouse gas emissions from its gas plants are set to increase by over 400 per cent by 2030 compared to 2017 emission levels, the IESO projects.

Powering Ontario’s Growth is meant to address increasing energy demand in the province, said Energy Minister Todd Smith. During the announcement, he said the IESO is predicting electricity demand in the province could double by 2050.

In the plan’s breakdown of the “Top 10 things to know,” it lists new nuclear, advancing pumped hydroelectric storage, planning for the future of energy efficiency programs and “starting planning for Ontario’s next competitive electricity procurement focused on new clean resources including wind, solar, hydroelectric, batteries and biogas.”

“Our government’s open-for-business approach has resulted in unprecedented investments and job creation, from electric vehicles and battery manufacturing to critical minerals to green steel,” said Smith.

“Powering Ontario’s Growth lays out the province’s plan to build the clean electricity generation, storage, and transmission we need to power the next major international investment, the new homes we are building, and industries as they grow and electrify.”

The plan doesn’t lay out a pathway for clean energy generation, says Lana Goldberg, Ontario climate program manager at Environmental Defence.

“It’s a plan to keep critics at bay while the province keeps polluting and using antiquated and dangerous technologies,” said Goldberg.

“No matter how many wind and solar options are promised for some point in the distant future, building new polluting gas plants and new nuclear facilities now is unacceptable.”

Looking at the concrete actions the province has taken, nuclear and natural gas seem to be where it’s hinging much of its energy future. Goldberg said there is “no reason to build new gas plants or nuclear power projects when we have cleaner, cheaper and safer alternatives.”

In response to the release of the plan, the Canadian Climate Institute said it is an “essential vision for electricity,” but that its intentions around expanding gas are concerning.

“The plan is silent on whether the province intends to construct new gas-fired generation facilities. The province should avoid building new gas plants since cost-effective alternatives are available, and such facilities are likely to end up as stranded assets,” said Jason Dion, senior research director with the Canadian Climate Institute.

“The province’s timeline for reaching net-zero generation is also unclear. Canada and other G7 countries have set a target for 2035, something Ontario will need to address if it wants to remain competitive.”

The Green Party of Ontario said the plan moved the province in the wrong direction.

“With this backwards approach, the Ford government is squandering a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make Ontario a global leader in attracting investment dollars and creating better jobs in the trillion-dollar clean energy sector,” said Green Leader Mike Schreiner.

“The road to a cleaner, greener Ontario is clear. But the Ford government is asleep at the wheel — hurting consumers, the economy and the climate in the process.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

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my question is: “ how fast can we undo ford’s climate crimes when hes booted out in three years?”

can those 750 projects be restarted? ( todd smith literally tore down a functioning wind turbine farm didnt he?). what company would want to invest in this bonkers place?

will first nations save us from another nuclear plant by court challenges that go on till the apocalypse of nuclear is self-evident even to a CON? note: Germany just shut its last nuclear plant

doug’s dodged a major eco disaster so far in heavily populated areas . how long will that continue? chickens coming to roost with his total failure to plan for flooding? for electrical grid build out and repair ( tornados coming?). will he keep blaming the last government 7 years ago?

will media ever start to hold his regime to account for its criminal obstruction of ways forward from fossil gas?

given the pass its given him so far on mass murder during the covid crisis, id say. no.

so insomma. , we are fkd
why three small nuclear plants at darlington

Doug Ford's Conservative government excels in "No Plans", a lot of fluff, zero substance. Hard to tell who Doug is trying to fool with these no-plans and if he thinks Ontarians are that dumb to eat these no-plans up. As far as I am concerned, any no-plan he comes up with is equivalent to no plan at all. His climate action, if anything, is in the opposite direction to where it should be. The only hope for Ontarians is to kick Doug Ford to the curb next provincial election. Be sure to ignore the fake polls and get out and vote.

Doug Ford, only here for his corrupt donors and no one else.

Sad to have to say this, but Conservatives currently have no stomach for the real changes we need to adopt in Canada. While our boreal burns, they cling to outmoded fossil fool fantasies of being 'open for business'.

They actually aren't open for the real investments we need to make to lower emissions and have any hope of avoiding hot house earth. They are open for 'business as usual'.........and that means too big not to fail, centralized, energy intensive investments that expand existing extinction technologies, while paying lip service to the cheaper clean alternatives we could deploy tomorrow.

The problem is, its hard to make billionaires while transitioning to clean tech. Wind and solar....solar in particular, need to be so distributed and interconnected that they prefigure a world where we are all producers of energy.............and much less restricted to consuming what the conservative business elite want us to buy.

A liveable world is possible; reducing greenhouse gases is possible. But these technologies threaten the strangle hold Big Money currently has on world economies. A world without war is also possible. But why would fossil fools want that??? Blowing things up making so much money for the weapons manufacturers of the world, talk of a peaceful future is just not affordable!!

Sucks to be us....and in particular, if we continue to vote for these rascals.

While we're chronicling the Ford government's failures, let's consider the boondoggle called carbon capture and storage (with the possibilty for 'enhanced ' oil recover). Perhaps Canada's National Observer could run an article.

... on the boondoggle.

So the basic problem is, almost all the news media in Ontario is conservative, and that's barely with a small "c" any more. Add in the well funded "social" media push and it's very hard to get counternarratives out. Even the Toronto Star was recently taken over by a right winger, and although so far it still seems to have somewhat maintained its sort of left-liberal positioning I have doubts going forward.

The only reason anyone in Ontario is still paying attention to real issues is that things have gotten so bloody obvious. When reality is so much in their face that they're breathing the smoke, many people can start to think things other than what they're being told to think. But it's still an uphill struggle. What plans do the left, or even the sane non-right, have to shift the information environment so people's thinking isn't dominated by a single kind of deeply counterfactual propaganda? Glad outfits like the National Observer are around; maybe they can get bigger, hopefully fast.

One federal smart energy corridor carrying (and storing) vast quantities of renewable electricity across the nation would ruin Doug's non-plan.

It could accommodate massive provincial contributions of hydro and catalyze thousands of wind and solar farms and urban rooftops across four timezones. Not to mention inspire R&D into large scale localized contributions of geothermal power and the reshoring and greening of heavy industries like steel and cement.

As long as the feds act as a break even wholesale distributor of clean power and doesn't make a profit, and has the spine to use the legal boundary crossing precedence of TMX when challenged by a fossilized province, then Canada will have the largest tool in the toolbox to not just achieve but exceed its best climate goals -- and stimulate the economy while doing it.