Canadian Consulting Engineer

Ontario expects to spend $40 billion in energy sector

The Ontario government has admitted it faces an energy crisis and will have to invest heavily in the sector in comi...

April 16, 2004   Canadian Consulting Engineer

The Ontario government has admitted it faces an energy crisis and will have to invest heavily in the sector in coming years.
In a speech yesterday, the Energy Minister Dwight Duncan indicated that the province needs to build, refurbish or conserve up to 25,000 MW of generating capacity by the year 2020. It has to do this to meet growing demand as well as fulfill its election promise to close down coal generating plants. Duncan indicated that there would need to be an investment of up to $40 billion to meet these needs.
He blamed past governments for the energy shortage that has left the province perilously close to not being able to meet demand at peak times and suggested that the Liberals will rely on a combination of a regulated market and private sector competition to set the industry back on its feet and assure more realistic and stable prices.
“For more than a decade, previous governments have been hamstrung by indecision and ideology,” he said. “They’ve clung to the old Ontario Hydro model, and tried moving to a fully competitive market, and neither has worked. And they’ve done virtually nothing to come to grips with our long-term supply needs.”
In June, the government plans to propose “sweeping” reforms in the legislature that will see a new, independent Ontario Power Authority established to ensure an adequate supply of electricity in the long term. The authority would have a special secretariat devoted to conservation.
The proposed legislation will also allow the Ministry of Energy to establish targets regarding renewable energy and conservation. The government has already said it intends that 5 per cent of the province’s power capacity should be from renewable sources by 2010, and that demand should be reduced by 5 per cent by 2007 through conservation.
The province is also said to be discussing possible new supplies from Manitoba, which wants to build new hydroelectric works to export power into Ontario.

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