You can tell the government what you think of the directions outlined in its discussion paper on renewing the Long Term Energy Plan by sending comments through the Environmental Bill of Rights website. Your submission can be anything from a simple one paragraph response to a detailed critique. You don’t have to be an expert – it is your right to have your views heard and considered in this process.
Below we have provided a template for a response that . When you’re ready, you can file your response through the simple web form on the EBR website.
Sample EBR response
Ontario must continue to work toward clean, green energy system. Never has it been more critical to reduce the environmental impact of our energy use, but, fortunately, with proper planning and some foresight, we can do that while keeping costs in check for consumers and ensuring we maintain a high quality of life for Ontarians.
Putting conservation first
This is a key principle that must be the cornerstone of the new Long Term Energy Plan. Improving the efficiency of our electricity and natural gas consumption is the best way to lower the environmental impact of these uses, including greenhouse gas and other air polluting emissions. It is also the fastest and cheapest way to meet our energy needs. The key is that we put in place the policies needed to maximize cost-effective (lower than the cost of new generation or imported gas) efficiency efforts before committing to new electricity generation projects or increased natural gas imports. Ontario must close the gap with key competitors such as New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and California when it comes to energy productivity and we can only do that by greatly improving our efficiency performance.
Bending the cost curve
Every previous energy plan in Ontario has over estimated future electricity demand and under estimated the cost of nuclear generation. There are worrying signs that this trend will continue in the new plan. Despite projections by the Independent Electricity System Operator that demand for electricity in Ontario will drop until at least 2017, the discussion paper seems to be based on an assumption that demand will somehow continue to rise despite major new trends such as economic shifts, new technology, and a huge potential for energy conservation.
Similarly, it fails to recognize the huge cost overruns on every nuclear project in Ontario’s history and, despite billion dollar plus cost overruns on recent Candu refurbishment projects, continues to characterize nuclear energy as low cost. We would be much further ahead accepting the much more realistic assessment made in Quebec of the poor economic case for keeping its Gentilly Nuclear Plant in operation. Nuclear power has left Ontario with a $20 billion debt, tonnes of radioactive material that will have to be stored for a million years, and the extremely costly task of decommissioning end-of-life nuclear reactors.
If we really want to keep electricity affordable for consumers and businesses, we have to be realistic and honest about the high costs of nuclear power and embrace cost-effective alternatives, including a much greater conservation and efficiency efforts, renewable energy (where costs are falling rapidly), and a greater use of small-scale district energy systems. Combined with energy trading with Quebec and Manitoba — where Ontario renewable power can be exchanged for water power as needed — this will create a much more flexible and economical system.
The last thing Ontario need, given our changing economy and changing energy demands, is a fleet of nuclear white elephants.
Ontario’s efforts to develop renewable energy sources are really still just getting started. We still have enormous untapped renewable energy potential and forms of renewable energy – such as biogas and geothermal – that we have barely begun to develop. With costs falling rapidly and worldwide demand for renewable energy technology soaring, this is not the time to pull back on our efforts to develop and deploy renewable technologies. Instead, we need to better integrate renewable energy and efficiency into our communities through robust Community Energy Planning efforts, further develop underused types of renewable energy such as biogas and geothermal, and plan seriously for the ecologically sustainable harvesting of offshore wind.
A more realistic assessment of the true costs of nuclear power would help Ontarians better understand the economic benefits of further developing renewable energy. Similarly, the inevitable introduction of carbon pricing will also make renewable sources even more competitive with sources like gas-fired generation.
The world is making great strides in managing high percentages of renewable power in power systems and supposed barriers to higher and higher levels of renewable energy use have fallen by the wayside in leading countries. Ontario has to make a choice about whether we want to continue to run with the world leaders in renewable energy development or return to our old polluting ways of producing energy.