Sources told The Canadian Press that Ontario wants to extend the life of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station and is considering a repair that could keep it running for several more decades. This is because a shortage of electricity is coming up in the near future.
The nuclear plant, which made up 14% of the province’s electricity production last year, was supposed to close in 2025.
Sources who know about the new plan but are not allowed to talk about it publicly say that Energy Minister Todd Smith will announce on Thursday that the government is now asking Crown corporation Ontario Power Generation to keep the plant running until September 2026.
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission would still have to agree to the plan.
Sources say that the government has also asked OPG to look into whether or not the Pickering plant is worth fixing up, which can give a plant another 30 years of life.
Ontario seeks to extend Pickering
Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator has recently started looking for medium-and long-term sources of electricity to meet the province’s supply needs as the nuclear plant shuts down and more people start using electricity, which raises demand.
In the medium term, most of the extra generation will come from natural gas, and the IESO’s list of qualified long-term proponents includes some natural gas supporters, even though the government wants to stop using it.
Due to natural gas, greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector are expected to rise for at least the next 20 years. The IESO doesn’t expect net GHG reductions from electric vehicles to make up for the increase in emissions from the electricity sector until about 2038.
Smith has asked the IESO to give him a report this fall about looking into a ban on new gas generation and a plan to get the electricity sector to zero emissions.
Nuclear power doesn’t put out any pollution, but it’s often criticized for being expensive, dangerous in case of an accident, and making nuclear waste that needs to be sealed up and kept for decades.
Critics from the opposition have said that Ontario wouldn’t be in as much of a supply crunch if the Progressive Conservative government hadn’t canceled 750 green energy contracts during its first term. The Tories said that the province didn’t need the power and that the contracts were making rates go up.
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