Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Nuking Ontario

Ontario is the engine of the Canadian economy, and that engine runs on electricity. In southern Ontario, where demand continues to grow, the Ontario Power Authority, the crown corporation responsible for energy, is proposing a 40 billion dollar expansion to the province’s atomic energy infrastructure. This in addition to the 4.24 billion dollar refurbishing mega-project at the Bruce nuclear station on Lake Huron.

Critics of the plan say the province should be moving away from coal and nuclear, spending their money instead on renewables, such as wind, solar, biomass, and targetted efficiency and conservation incentives to homes and businesses. They claim the public consultation process, planned later this month is too brief to be meaningful, saying it amounts to little more than a “whitewash” for the controversial program.

Answering the critic’s call, Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty said: “In an ideal world, we could get to where we need to go through conservation and renewables like wind. But, we don’t live in that world, we live in this one.” Far from ideal, of the approximately 1.2 billion dollars in new energy projects the province announced last year, only 13 percent of those are aimed at efficiency and conservation.

Lamenting Ontario’s short-sighted approach, Mark Winfield of the University of Toronto environmental studies department says; “There isn’t that much happening. The government talks about conservation and renewable sources, but if you follow the money, it’s clear where it’s putting the dollars. They’re low-balling the efficiency potential [and] largely preparing to rebuild the system we already have.”

Winfield recently completed an analysis of Ontario’s energy profile for the Calgary-based Pembina Institute for Appropriate Development. He acknowledges McGuinty’s administration has made some progress: Announcing last week it would buy power from homeowners generated by solar panels; committing to an energy conservation ad campaign; sales tax rebates for high efficiency appliances; and the introduction of “smart meters,” a system that charges less for off-peak hour usage. But, he believes the government moves have been too timid, suggesting it remains unconvinced these measures will be enough to keep the Ontario economy performing at current levels.

Winfield’s report calls for aggressive conservation measures that he says could provide Ontario with all the electricity it needs without the use of either coal, or nuclear plants, at about half the cost of the Power Authority’s proposed plan for Ontario. And this without the risk of meltdowns, toxic spills, or the thorny issue of nuclear waste disposal.

Says Winfield; “It’s possible to reduce projected demand by more than 40 percent by 2020, using proven technologies that are commercially available today.”

Energy consultant, Ralph Torrie thinks what’s needed is a visionary approach by government, similar to the building of the Canadian Pacific railroad in the 19th century. Torrie says; “If you said, `We’re going to do this as a government. We’ll put efficiency in place,’ you could achieve success rates that would blow all other experience out of the water. We haven’t made the commitment.”

Jack Gibbons, speaking for the Ontario Clean Air Alliance says the power authority’s figures depend on nuclear plants being built on budget and on schedule, something that’s never happened in Ontario’s experience with nuclear power. Gibbons says; “[the authority] is counting on nuclear plants being built under budget, and operating flawlessly, two things that have never happened in Ontario,”

Of the Bruce refurbishing, U. of T.’s Mark Winfield says it’s the perfect example of the flaws in nuclear power. “The Bruce project is a poster child for the fact that the nuclear industry can’t compete on a level playing field, it needs extraordinary guarantees.”

Public hearings on the province’s so-called ‘Supply Mix Advice Report,’ issued in December, and recommending a 70 billion dollar cash outlay over the next twenty years, will be held across the province between February 13-17.

Chris Cook is a contributing editor to PEJ News and hosts Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria.

 

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
Ralph Nader
Unmasking Phony Values Campaigns by the Corporatists
Victor Grossman
A Big Rally and a Bavarian Vote
James Bovard
Groped at the Airport: Congress Must End TSA’s Sexual Assaults on Women
Jeff Roby
Florida After Hurricane Michael: the Sad State of the Unheeded Planner
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Bradley Kaye
The Policy of Policing
Cesar Chelala
The Catholic Church Fails Sexual Abuse Victims
Kevin Cashman
One Year After Hurricane Maria: Employment in Puerto Rico is Down by 26,000
Dr. Hakim Young
Nonviolent Afghans Bring a Breath of Fresh Air
Karl Grossman
Irving Like vs. Big Nuke
Dan Corjescu
The New Politics of Climate Change
John Carter
The Plight of the Pyrenees: the Abandoned Guard Dogs of the West
Ted Rall
Brett Kavanaugh and the Politics of Emotion-Shaming
Graham Peebles
Sharing is Key to a New Economic and Democratic Order
Ed Rampell
The Advocates
Louis Proyect
The Education Business
October 18, 2018
Erik Molvar
The Ten Big Lies of Traditional Western Politics
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail