A 21st century energy strategy

Re: On conservation, Ontario energy czar condescends, Nov. 1

Toronto Star: Jack Gibbons, Chair, Ontario Clean Air Alliance, Toronto - November 5, 2008

Ontario Power Authority bureaucrats are proposing to build a large, high-cost, gas-fired power plant in northern York Region that will have an energy efficiency of only 36 per cent. In contrast, a government regulation prohibits homeowners from purchasing gas furnaces that are less than 80 per cent efficient.

At their summit meeting, Energy Minister George Smitherman and the northern York Region mayors have the opportunity to develop an alternative electricity strategy that is consistent with the spirit of the greenbelt legislation and the proposed Lake Simcoe Protection Act.

That is, a balanced plan consisting of an integrated combination of energy efficiency and demand management, biomass power, geothermal energy, wind and solar power and small-scale, super-efficient natural gas-fired combined heat and power plants.

With strong and visionary leadership from Minister Smitherman, we can create a smart 21st century electricity plan for northern York Region that will be a model for a green Ontario not to mention a far better use of hundreds of millions of dollars.


Maybe "speed won't kill"

Donald Jones, Mississauga

But conservation and efficiency improvements alone will not be enough. There is an alternative to putting more natural-fired power plants in places like Mississauga and York Region and that is to increase the arbitrary limit on nuclear from the 14,000 megawatts imposed by the government. Bruce Power showed its willingness to build new nuclear power plants on the last day of October when it asked the nuclear safety regulator for a licence to prepare a site at Nanticoke.

The government's power plan envisages nuclear supplying 40 per cent of the electricity demand by 2025. This should be raised to 70 per cent, with hydro supplying most of the balance. If there is no market for the nuclear-generated electricity during the off-peak and overnight hours (export, hydrogen production, electric car battery charging) the plants can reduce their output, that is, load follow within limits. In France the nuclear share is nearly 80 per cent.

There is no long-term future for gas-fired generation because of greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, high cost to consumer and the waste of a valuable non-renewable resource. Since Ontario's wind generators require gas as backup, it makes one wonder about the future of all those windmills.


Nanticoke eyed as site for nuclear power plant, Oct. 31

Janet Fraser, Grand Erie Energy Quest, Cayuga

We, the citizens of Haldimand and Norfolk, are deeply concerned about the lack of transparency of a process that has taken place in our community. In Haldimand, seven people the mayor and six council members wrote letters of support for a nuclear plant to Premier Dalton McGuinty, but failed to consult with the community. Meetings between the councils of Haldimand and Norfolk and Bruce Power took place behind closed doors.

Nor did the councils arrange public information meetings. Over the last year and a half, concerned citizens have held a few information nights with speakers presenting various points of view on energy options. Grand Erie Energy Quest was formed in June 2007 so that the citizens of Haldimand and Norfolk could educate themselves about energy options.

I submitted a formal request to Haldimand council three times last spring and summer to make a formal 10-minute presentation on behalf of our group to voice our concerns about a nuclear facility at Nanticoke. Haldimand council refused. Their reason was that they felt it was "premature" and not needed at this time. The citizens of Haldimand and Norfolk, as well as our neighbours at Six Nations, must be able to make an informed decision as to whether or not we are a "willing host community" for a nuclear plant. This decision cannot be made without much discussion.

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