Nuclear generation is best for Ontario’s energy future, study suggests

Nuclear generation investments in the Long Term Energy Plan lead to $60B in economic benefits, 100,000 more jobs.

TORONTO – A detailed analysis concludes that investment in Ontario’s nuclear generation capacity will deliver the greatest benefit to Ontario ratepayers and the economy while dramatically reducing future potential greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to a study commissioned by the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCI).

Ontario is in the middle of a review of its 2010 Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP). Many observers have speculated that with slower than forecasted growth in energy demand in Ontario, building out the full capacity contemplated by the LTEP could result in higher than anticipated costs to ratepayers and an unacceptably large surplus of power generation capacity. New decisions on the future supply mix for Ontario may have to be contemplated.

The study by Strategic Policy Economics Inc. for the Power Workers’ Union (PWU) and the (OCI) assesses the economic and GHG emission impacts associated with two supply mix options. One scenario – Retained Wind − assumes that planned new wind generation goes forward while investments in nuclear power generation are curtailed.

Under this scenario, additional gas-fired generation is needed as a backstop to the intermittency of wind generation. The other scenario – retained nuclear − assumes that the planned refurbishment of existing nuclear reactors and the building of new reactors would proceed while the proposed development of new wind generation would not.

The study suggests that retaining the nuclear generation capacity as planned in the 2010 LTEP while reducing contemplated wind generation would:

  • Produce $56 billion in direct benefits to Ontario’s economy through $27 billion in savings to ratepayers and $29 billion in direct investment in Ontario -a $60 billion net incremental benefit to Ontario as compared to the wind scenario.
  • Generate $9 billion in greater direct employment income benefits than the Retained Wind scenario including the creation of more than 100,000 full-time jobs in Ontario, many in the advanced manufacturing sector.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 108 million tonnes, or 80% less than the Retained Wind scenario.

The full report is available here.