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Renewable is Doable: Ontario can keep the lights on without coal or nuclear

Toronto: August 01, 2007

A cheaper, cleaner, and less risky option than the current nuclear-reliant Ontario electricity plan, is doable, according to a state-of-the-art modelling analysis commissioned by WWF-Canada and the Pembina Institute and released today.

Ontario can keep the lights on while saving consumers money and cutting greenhouse gases in half, said Cherise Burda, Ontario Policy Director with the Pembina Institute. This study shows in vivid detail that there is a cheaper, safer, and greener way to power our future.

The analysis shows that reducing unnecessary energy waste, switching to renewable energy, and recycling waste heat from industrial and commercial operations into electricity will cost consumers less than building new nuclear plants. It also cuts future greenhouse gases from electricity generation in half.

This study comes on the heels of an Environics poll released this week, which shows that Ontarians overwhelmingly (76%) favour shifting to renewable power and conservation. Renewable is Doable. This is the plan that Ontarians want, said Keith Stewart of WWF-Canada. We can put an end to smoggy coal without forcing Ontarians to reluctantly accept more expensive nuclear plants and another generation of radioactive waste.

The analysis, conducted using an advanced computer simulation of Ontarios electrical system, uses data from the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), cross-referenced with comparable energy efficiency and renewable energy project performance in the U.S. and Europe. It found that greener energy options can:

Meet Ontarios growing appetite for electricity.

Reduce costs to consumers by 11% against the Ontario Power Authoritys Preliminary Plan.

Cut in half the greenhouse gases that would be emitted by the OPA plan over the next 20 years.

Phase out coal by 2012 at the latest, whereas a nuclear-based plan commits Ontario to burning coal until 2017.

Ontario's energy efficiency potential is enormous, added Dr. Mark Winfield, one of the report co-authors. The OPA has introduced some important conservation initiatives, but even their own figures show that most of the capacity for energy efficiency and conservation remains untapped.

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