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New Ontario energy plan provides essential vision for electricity, but lacks detail on gas

The plan will provide the guidance utilities, regulators, and system operators need to build a bigger, cleaner, smarter electricity system in ways that make sense for Ontario ratepayers .

OTTAWA — Jason Dion, Senior Research Director with the Canadian Climate Institute, made the following statement in response to the Ontario government’s announcement of Powering Ontario’s Growth, Ontario’s new long-term energy plan. 

“Ontario’s new energy plan makes it clear the province is moving toward an electric future. The plan is an important step toward building the bigger, cleaner, smarter electricity systems Ontario needs to meet its increasing demand for electricity, while keeping rates affordable for families and businesses. 

“Critically, the plan focuses on ways to reduce reliance on gas-fired generation, and will support the cost-effective alignment of Ontario’s electricity system with the upcoming Clean Electricity Regulations. 

“The development of non-emitting generation alongside solutions that can improve system flexibility, such as short- and long-term storage, energy efficiency and distributed energy resources, and improved transmission capacity will help Ontario transition to a grid fully powered by non-emitting sources. 

“However, 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. 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. 

“Despite these gaps, Ontario’s plan is an important, forward-looking commitment to building the bigger, cleaner, smarter systems Ontario and Canada needs on the path to net zero. Our research has shown that the average Canadian household will spend 12 per cent less on energy by 2050 compared to what they spend today as the country moves toward a net zero future. 

“Ontario’s energy demands are rising. By planning for future growth today, Ontario can ensure that its reliable, cost-effective clean power remains a competitive advantage.”