Energy Ink

On our radar: a green plan for the ages

Ontario's long-term energy plan is ambitious. But who will foot the bill?

November 26, 2010

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Things that caught our attention this week:

*Ontario plans to invest $87 billion to upgrade its energy infrastructure over the next 20 years. Brad Duguid, the province’s energy minister, released a long-term energy plan earlier this week. The blueprint sets ambitious investment targets for nuclear ($33 billion), transmission lines ($9 billion), renewable energy ($27 billion), and conservation measures ($12 billion). The roadmap will see residential electricity prices double, which shouldn’t surprise consumers. Still, there are more than a few question marks lurking in the plan’s biggest bets. Two new units at the Darlington nuclear plant are required, while another 10 are in need of refurbishment. But the future of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., the province’s preferred buyer of nuclear gear, remains in limbo. Check out the planned investments at left.

*Danny Williams is leaving politics. The pugnacious Newfoundland and Labrador premier walks away from it all having secured a tentative deal to exploit power from the Lower Churchill River via Nova Scotia, meaning the Rock can at last sell power at going market rates instead of getting the short shrift from Quebec.

*ARC Financial Corp. chief energy economist Peter Tertzakian is pointing toward a gas-centric future: “We have to begin to think about how we are going to manage the ups and downs and the switch from oil to gas,” the Calgary author told the Energy Services Summit in Edmonton on Thursday.

*While North America has a dim view of coal-fired electricity (see Ontario’s plan to shutter its thermal generating plants by 2014), that hasn’t stopped major producers from exporting more and more of the stuff to power-hungry Asian economies. “[L]ong-distance international coal exports have been surging because of China’s galloping economy, which now burns half of the six billion tons of coal used globally each year,” writes Elizabeth Rosenthal over at the NY Times.

*How’s about embracing climate change? Heresy, we know, but adapting to life on a warming planet might not be so bad. The downside? “Unfortunately, such adaptation has always meant large numbers of deaths,” say the folks over at the Economist. “Evolution works that way. But humankind is luckier than most species. It has the advantage of being able to think ahead, and to prepare for the changes to come.”

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