Notes for remarks By The Honourable George Smitherman, Deputy Premier, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure

Ontario Energy Association Niagara Falls, Ontario - September 18, 2008

Good afternoon.

Ive had the opportunity to meet some of you since I became Minister of Energy and Infrastructure this past June, and you have helped me understand more fully the challenges and opportunities facing Ontarios energy sector.

Over the past three months Ive enjoyed the privilege of traveling to some pretty interesting places across the province, touring many of our core energy assets, like our nuclear and hydroelectric facilities, and around the world, learning from energy efficiency leaders, becoming more familiar with cutting-edge technologies and exploring more fully the economic opportunities of the green economy.

The theme of this years OEA conference leadership and innovation captures much what Ive seen and heard.

And this much is clear to me: In 2008, nowhere is leadership and innovation more critical than in Ontarios energy sector.

The energy sector is central to our vision for a greener Ontario, one where our environment and our economy work in harmony; where we dont have to choose between our health and our prosperity.

No greater example of the power of our water is right here, where Niagara Falls not only helps to keep electricity flowing throughout our daily lives. Its a rich reminder that Ontarios energy system was built on this abundant, renewable resource more than a century ago.

And while our energy needs have grown and our supply mix has changed, at more than 2,000 megawatts, the Sir Adam Beck Generating Stations continue to meet about 10 per cent of Ontarios needs most days of the year.

This vision this leadership is not only good for Ontario, it is essential to this provinces continued long-term success.

Weve come a long way to realizing that vision since the government of Dalton McGuinty was first elected in 2003.

But we must not rest on our laurels.

The ambitions Ontarians hold for their province their vision of a cleaner, greener legacy for their children demand that we constantly raise the bar.

Im here today to tell you were doing just that for Ontarios energy sector:

We are raising the bar on our plan to harness Ontarios vast green power potential and on ensuring that new renewable power can flow onto the grid. The health of our residents and our economy demand it. Weve been raising the bar on our goals for energy conservation and advances in demand management since we came into office. Because the most important megawatt of electricity is the one we dont use. We are raising the bar on our use of technologies made available in the rapidly evolving green energy sector, like pumped storage, smart meters, smart grids and the latest on solar panels. And we are raising the bar on our relationship with our First Nations first on our duty to fully consult during energy planning and second on the unique opportunity we have to form partnerships going forward.

We must set the bars high, because as leaders know those are the goals most worth reaching.

And lets remember were able to raise those bars because we have a strong foundation. Ontarians enjoy one of the cleanest, greenest energy profiles found anywhere. When leaders from earlier centuries and decades decided that we would build on the strengths of Niagara Falls with investments in nuclear, our trajectory was set.

Together, water and nuclear power provides us with more than 75 per cent of the electricity we used last year and our commitment to ensuring the stability of this foundation is at the centre of our plans.

The strength and stability that water and nuclear power brings to our energy system provides the confidence we need to eliminate coal.

Given how far weve already come in building a greener energy profile in Ontario, youll understand my optimism when I say that with innovation and strong leadership, I know we can raise the bar on our energy strategy.

Because make no mistake: We are in the midst of an energy renaissance. We arent just overhauling the infrastructure of our energy system, but the very philosophy of how we will power our homes, our businesses, our communities, indeed our cars, for decades to come.

We want an energy system that reliably meets our needs, takes it easier on the Earth AND helps stimulate our economy. And we want to get it right.

As I said a moment ago weve already made some tangible progress toward that goal. Everyone knows we are working to get rid of coal-fired generation by 2014, which will reduce Ontarios carbon dioxide emissions by up to 30 megatonnes. Thats the single largest climate change initiative in Canada. Weve already cut emissions by a third from 2003 levels, and weve introduced strict limits on the use of coal to ensure emissions are cut by two-thirds by 2011.

There is a competitive, transparent nuclear procurement well underway, designed to ensure we maintain our current installed capacity of 14,000 megawatts, or 50% of our baseload supply.

New gas-fired generation has come on line in Toronto and other projects are nearing completion in Sarnia and Brampton. And procurements are under way for gas-fired plants in the Northern York Region and the southwest GTA. In total, these plants will bring more than 4,000 megawatts of much cleaner energy capacity to Ontario.

Since 2003, more than 530 megawatts of new renewable energy has come on line. Weve gone from lagging to a leading Canadian province when it comes to wind power in a few short years.

But just because we are doing well doesnt mean we cant do better.

In terms of our long-term energy plan, we must be absolutely sure we capitalize on EVERY single viable opportunity and technology available in the rapidly developing green energy sector. The rewards for early adapters are clear.

Thats why Ive directed the OPA to begin an immediate review to tweak elements of the IPSP dealing with renewables and conservation. Specifically:

The amount and diversity of renewable energy sources in the supply mix. The viability of accelerating the achievement of stated conservation targets, including a review of the deployment and utilization of smart meters. Improving transmission capacity in the orange zones in northern Ontario and other parts of the province that is limiting the development of new renewable energy supply. The potential of converting existing coal-fired assets to biomass.

The availability of distributed generation. The potential for pumped storage to contribute to the energy supply during peak times.

Further, I am directing the OPA to employ an enhanced process of consultation with First Nation communities, including the consideration of partnership opportunities in generation and transmission.

I also want to be perfectly clear about what is NOT up for review during this six-month period:

There will be no change in our plan to eliminate coal from our energy supply mix. There will be no change in the plan to maintain Ontarios installed nuclear capacity at 14,000 megawatts.

In the past ten weeks I have travelled widely -- I call it the full curious George to see the dividends of innovation and strong leadership.

I saw it in California, where I learned how they have achieved flat growth in their per capita energy despite constant growth in their population over the past 25 years.

I saw it in Freiburg, Germany, sunny, sunny Germany! In one neighbourhood all the homes had solar panels on their roofs and great thinking in their design that neighbourhood is a net supplier of energy.

I saw it in Spain, which operates 15,000 MW of wind power and is now moving to compliment it with a similar dedication to solar power.

And, in Denmark, I visited a community of about 7,000 people that meets 100% of its needs locally, from wind and from CHP fueled by biomass, geothermal and energy from waste.

I saw that innovation right here at home too.

I was particularly struck with the Ear Falls project, where new technology is being added to an existing hydroelectric site. Here, the Lac Seul First Nation has 25 per cent ownership in partnership with OPG. This project is presently under construction, but there are several others being promoted by other First Nation communities, such as adding new technology to better harness the water resources on the lower Mattagami.

I saw it at Brookfields impressive Prince Wind Farm in Sault Ste Marie, Canadas largest operating wind facility.

And I saw it at the Ontario Power Generations Atikokan generating station, where recent test burns of biomass have achieved 100% of the plants 230 MW capacity.

Looking ahead, we will continue to search out and encourage innovative ideas and technologies that can help us raise that bar on conservation and renewable energy as well as creating green collar careers in research and development, energy-efficient construction and retrofitting for manufacturers, assemblers and installers.

With responsibilities in both energy and infrastructure, I will be looking at ways we can introduce and strengthen sustainable development and efficiency in areas such as transit and the construction of public buildings, like our schools, hospitals and our government buildings.

In conclusion, I want to thank you for the warm welcome and for the opportunities to work amongst you.

As I have travelled and spoken with folks in other jurisdictions, I have been very proud to tell them of the efforts youve been leading in the renaissance of Ontarios energy system and to share our enthusiasm and optimism for the future.

Id like to thank you personally for the dedication that youve shown and ask you to remain resolute as we deliver on Ontarios promise.

Thank you very much.


Box 282,

North Bay P1B 8H2

tel 705 497 0373

fax 476 7060

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