The following is a sponsored Op-Ed, written and submitted by Bruce Power, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, James Scongack
Recently, the Ontario Government released its new Climate Change Action Plan outlining an overall strategy to cut greenhouse gas pollution to 15 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, 37 per cent by 2030 and 80 per cent by 2050.
While there are a number of items that have received lots of attention, one of the best kept secrets is how important the output from the Bruce Power site is in the short, medium and long-term to achieving these targets. Today in Ontario, Bruce Power generates 30 per cent of the province’s electricity at 30 per cent below the average residential cost of power and this is a role we plan to continue for decades to come.
While there are a number of elements to the province’s Climate Change Action Plan, the most significant short-term reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2003 has come from Ontario’s electricity sector through the phase-out of coal fired generation. In fact, this reduction in emissions has been one of the largest climate change actions in North America if not globally in recent history.
Keeping our electricity system clean will be a key enabler to the 2020 greenhouse gas reduction target.
As outlined in a joint study Bruce Power carried-out with the Asthma Society of Canada, 70 per cent of the additional generation needed to phase-out the use of coal came from additional output from the Bruce Power site through a range of investment and reactor restart activities since 2003. The key for Bruce Power will be to sustain this level of output over the long-term through our multi-year investment program that is currently underway.
In an effort to provide factual and useful information to energy users, Bruce Power launched an innovative calculator on our App and website that illustrates how critical our output is to achieving these targets. As the calculator illustrates, our 6,300 megawatts of output in Ontario’s electricity system is the equivalent of keeping six million cars off the road each year and essential to meeting the 2020, 2030 and 2050 targets.
Often when we talk about electricity sources and supply, we forget that a balanced mix is healthy and Bruce Power recognizes that we are a part of a balanced supply mix and our role is to provide low-cost, stable output along with reliability and certainty.
Energy conservation is another critical area and one where Bruce Power is putting innovation to work. In 2013, we launched a product called the Bruce Power Saver that is currently helping hundreds of Ontario businesses conserve and manage their energy use. Thousands of Ontarians have downloaded and use our iPad and iPhone App that has conservation tips and interactive tools to conserve and shift energy use. At our own facility, we have a conservation first approach and have installed upgraded, lower energy-use lighting and have an ongoing effort to minimize our own energy use. It’s important we all play our part – even those of us who generate electricity.
Another key element to the province’s climate change plan is enhancing electrified transportation and personal vehicles in particular, which is a position long advocated and supported by Bruce Power. This will only have a substantial impact if Ontario continues to have a clean electricity supply mix. By continuing to deliver our long-term investment program, Bruce Power will continue to do our part.
To support the increased use of electric vehicles, Bruce Power, in conjunction with Plug’n Drive, a non-profit organization that is accelerating the adoption of electric cars, has launched a free App where users can get all of the information they need about how to go electric.
In addition, later this year, Bruce Power will release a study it is conducting in collaboration with Plug’n Drive, the Asthma Society of Canada, University of Waterloo and Pollution Probe outlining how the use of electric vehicles can be further advanced, building on the action plan released today.
In our own community we’ve put our money where our mouth is and supported the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in the community and at our own facility.
We know Ontario is serious about tackling climate change and this is a view shared across the political spectrum, which is why the province must remain serious about securing the important role nuclear power plays in meeting our electricity needs for today and tomorrow as outlined in the Long Term Energy Plan.
We all have an important role to play in tackling climate change and at Bruce Power we will continue to do our part by securing our role through our multi-year investment program and continuing to put innovative ideas into action.