The Ontario Clean Air Alliance turned its back on gas-fired power plants

The Ontario Clean Air Alliance turned its back on gas-fired power plants

An article in the Toronto Star back on August 30, 2020 written by Angela Bischoff of the OCAA was headlined:  “We need to phase out Ontario’s gas-fired power plants, not ramp them up”. That signaled the OCAA had turned it’s back on some of its former funders. The OCAA is a “charity” and if one looks back to an article penned in August 2012 it noted “OCAA disclose in their filing that private funding (over $750 per annum) comes from; Union GasEuropean Power Systems (gas equipment), Northland Power (wind developer), Sky Generation (wind developer), Enbridge Gas”!  At that time both Union Gas and Enbridge Gas were funding OCAA’s “charitable” (sarcasm intended) endeavours which were focused on: eliminating “coal and nuclear generation while favouring wind, solar and gas generation.”  The times have apparently changed!

OCAA’s Plan

The article in the Toronto Star states: “Importing low cost power from Quebec is also a sensible alternative. Our neighbours have plenty of power to spare—in fact, they have been dumping it on spot markets in the U.S. for years now.”  The article goes on to make other specious claims but they have been somewhat successful as noted recently having convinced Kingston’s City Council to pass a motion that tells the Province to shut down “fossil fuel generation”.  OCAA’s website now claims they have convinced 13 municipalities* to pass a similar motion claiming Ontario can import clean hydro from Quebec. The next municipality they have focused on is Toronto, where Toronto City Councillors Jennifer McKelvie and Mike Layton will urge Toronto City Council to adopt a motion calling for the phase-out of gas-fired electricity in Ontario “as soon as possible.”

Had Angela Bischoff, her boss, Gideon Forman, or any of the councillors in those 13 municipalities bothered to search for some facts they may have discovered Hydro Quebec’s peak demand occurs in the winter and the bulk of what they export to the US and the Maritimes is contracted.  The foregoing is relatively easy to find as Hydro Quebec’s financial reports disclose it.

Quebec’s Peak Electricity Demand

 From Hydro Quebec’s financial report for the 1st quarter of 2020: “Hydro-Québec’s quarterly results are not necessarily indicative of results for the year on account of seasonal temperature fluctuations. Because of higher electricity demand during winter months, revenue from electricity sales in Québec is higher during the first and fourth quarters.”

A somewhat dated (2012) report from Statistics Canada states: “Sixty-one percent of households in Quebec used electric baseboard heating systems,” and provides insight on why Ontario would be unable to count on an adequate supply of electricity from Quebec during our winters. Bischoff and Forman should stop telling lies!

Again, looking at Hydro Quebec’s 2019 annual report amplifies the foregoing and indicates Hydro Quebec encourages reductions in use during the winter by providing “two new rate offerings for Rate D residential and farm customers and Rate G business customers Winter Credit Option, which gives customers a credit if they reduce their electricity use during peak demand events.”  They refer to it as “Dynamic pricing” and go so far as to say it is: “our way of thanking customers for helping us reduce electricity demand during peak periods.”

With those facts in hand, those OCAA spokespeople shouting; “we need to phase out gas-plants” and count on electricity supplied by wind, solar or “cheap hydro” from Quebec better install a household gas generator. They and those naïve councillors will not like it when Ontario experiences those rolling black-outs that will occur should the Ontario Minister of Energy actually listen to them.

*Kitchener, Windsor, St. Catharines, Burlington, Hamilton, Guelph, Cobourg, Halton Hills, King, Woolwich, Selwyn, Kingston and Waterloo.

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