Original Goals for Electricity System Transformation
- Reduce CO₂ emissions from power plants:
- Phase out coal plants and build new efficient CCGT gas plants.
- Restart 4 nuclear units at Bruce A and 2 units at Pickering A.
- Add wind, solar, bio-energy and small hydro generation.
- Refurbish nuclear units as they reach end of design life.
- Create new green energy sector jobs:
- FIT program to accelerate deployment of renewables.
- Create 50,000 jobs in new green sector.
- Keep transformation costs within 1% per year in additional costs:
- Install smart meters with Time-of‐Use (TOU) rates.
- Encourage peak reduction and load flattening.
- A careful engineering analysis and grid simulation would have shown that the policy goals could not have been economically accomplished because:
- Backup generation is required for wind and solar. Consequently wind and solar are displacement energy sources.
- The total value of displacement sources to the consumer is only the economic value of the displaced fuel. For hydroelectric and nuclear it’s 0.5 cents/kWh. For natural gas it’s 4 cents/kWh plus a carbon reduction benefit of 1 cent/kWh for each $30 per ton CO₂ of environmental costs.
- The policy to eliminate coal in Ontario reduced the carbon reduction benefit of wind and solar by 2.5× because gas is cleaner than coal. …
Why Will Emissions Double as We Add Wind and Solar Plants?
- Wind and Solar require flexible backup generation.
- Nuclear is too inflexible to backup renewables without expensive engineering changes to the reactors.
- Flexible electric storage is too expensive at the moment.
- Consequently natural gas provides the backup for wind and solar in North America.
- When you add wind and solar you are actually forced to reduce nuclear genera,on to make room for more natural gas genera,on to provide flexible backup.
- Ontario currently produces electricity at less than 40 grams of CO₂ emissions/kWh.
- Wind and solar with natural gas backup produces electricity at about 200 grams of CO₂ emissions/kWh. Therefore adding wind and solar to Ontario’s grid drives CO₂ emissions higher. From 2016 to 2032 as Ontario phases out nuclear capacity to make room for wind and solar, CO₂ emissions will double (2013 LTEP data).
- In Ontario, with limited economic hydro and expensive storage, it is mathematically impossible to achieve low CO₂ emissions at reasonable electricity prices without nuclear generation.
Download original document: “Ontario’s Electricity Dilemma – Achieving Low Emissions at Reasonable Electricity Rates”
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