Canada’s electricity demand is expected to double in 25 years, and Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government is indicating that nuclear energy will supply most of the province’s new energy.
The transition to electric vehicles in the auto industry and industry-wide efforts to reduce carbon emissions are what drives demand.
Because of this, Ontario may start a multi-decade construction plan with potential expenses in the hundreds of billions of dollars, which would be Canada’s largest-ever expansion of nuclear power.
Recently, the Ford administration has taken the following steps:
- The province has declared its intention to approximately triple output at Bruce Power, the world’s largest nuclear power plant.
- The province has announced plans to construct an additional three small modular reactors (SMRs) besides the one currently under construction at Darlington.
- The energy minister was presented with a study conducted by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) on the possibility of renovating Pickering, Canada’s oldest-running nuclear power facility.
Energy Minister Todd Smith has stated that without increasing nuclear production, Ontario will not be able to increase energy production significantly.
“Given the fact that we want to make sure that we’re building emissions-free sources of electricity, really the best way to do that is base-load power through nuclear,” said Smith.
“We’ve proven that it’s reliable 365 days a year, seven days a week and 24 hours a day,” he added. “That’s why we’re moving forward rather aggressively on SMRs and potentially new large nuclear as well.”
About 55% of the electricity in Ontario comes from nuclear power facilities. A quarter of the supply comes from hydroelectric dams, with the rest coming from gas-fired power plants and wind farms.
The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) of Ontario published a report in December of last year that looked at strategies for meeting demand while keeping the province’s system emission-free by 2050.
This plan proposes the development of a total of 17,800 MW of new nuclear power, which is roughly the same as constructing a second Bruce nuclear plant, in addition to two Darlington nuclear reactors and a Pickering nuclear reactor.