Ontario is increasingly reliant on natural gas-fired generation for meeting its peak and base-load electricity needs.
It’s now the second largest installed supply source. Natural gas generation has replaced coal generation for peak needs. It also provides backup for intermittent wind and solar generation, which is needed over 70% of the time.
When the 3,100 MW GHG emission-free Pickering Nuclear Station ceases operation in 2024, this reliance will increase and require importing more environmentally-questionable, non-renewable, price volatile shale gas from the U.S. Besides compromising Ontario’s ability to meet its GHG emission targets, Ontarians will face higher home heating and electricity costs and the province’s energy security will be reduced.
Natural gas... not good news
The reliance on carbon emitting, price volatile, import dependent natural gas generation is not good news for Ontario consumers or for our province’s competitiveness.
- Ontario imports over 99% of its natural gas for home heating, commercial and industrial uses and electricity generation.
- Almost three billion dollars flowed out of Ontario in 2015 to pay for natural gas imports.
- According to Ontario’s Energy Board, “By 2021, U.S. supplies –primarily from the Marcellus and Utica basins (shale gas) will meet 74% of Ontario demand.
- The price of this fuel is set in the North American natural gas marketplace, which results in price volatility.
- Environmental and health concerns are growing about hydraulic fracturing or fracking; a process which injects fluid—water, fine particles of clay or sand and an array of chemical additives—under high pressure to release the shale gas from gas bearing rock deep underground.
- Converting Ontario’s idle Lambton Generating Station to utilize carbon-neutral biomass and natural gas could help mitigate these risks while delivering significant environmental and economic benefits to the production of peak electricity supply.
- Vacant land at the Nanticoke Generating Station could be used to host a combined heat and power station fueled by carbon neutral biomass and natural gas. The existing transmission infrastructure at the site would be utilized to the benefit of Ontario’s consumers.