Ontario's electric grid is getting reinforcements but it's too soon to nix natural gas, says operator

NDP 'deeply concerned' about increasing reliance on natural gas

"Battery storage facilities can charge during off-peak hours then inject electricity back into the system at times of peak demand.

NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns said the seven new battery storage facilities are welcome news, but he is "deeply concerned" about increasing reliance on natural gas.

"While the entire world moves towards greener and more sustainable energy sources, Ontario's expected decision to increase (reliance on) gas-fired power plants undermines plans to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions — further demonstrating the Conservatives' lack of commitment to meaningful climate action." "

FULL STORY HERE: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ont-electricity-natural-gas-1.6845363


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TABUNS: Doug Ford wants to raise your gas bill

Toronto Sun article
Wednesday February 14th, 2024

Ending the subsidy would be a win-win-win-win. There is, however, one loser – Enbridge Gas

Just before Christmas, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) issued an important decision affecting the gas bills of nearly four million Ontario consumers.

The OEB ordered natural gas distributor Enbridge Gas to bear the costs of expanding its natural gas infrastructure, rather than imposing these costs on existing consumers.

The OEB decision acknowledged the obvious: At a time when Ontario is moving away from fossil fuels, any plan to expand natural gas infrastructure carries enormous risks — not just to the environment but to your pocketbook. And so, the OEB decided Enbridge’s proposal was not in the interests of consumers.

The next day the Doug Ford government announced that it would reverse the decision and protect the interests of Enbridge. It plans to pass legislation in February that will raise energy bills across the province and make life more expensive for new homebuyers.

It all goes back to a subsidy that most gas customers don’t even know they are paying. Right now, your gas bill includes a charge worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year to cover Enbridge’s cost of expanding gas pipelines into new developments. On Dec. 21, Ontario’s independent energy regulator decided to put a stop to this subsidy because it raises energy bills for existing gas customers and new homebuyers, while also increasing financial risks for the whole gas system.

Ending the subsidy would save gas customers more than $1 billion over four years in avoided pipeline subsidy costs, which comes to more than $300 per customer. Ending the subsidy will also encourage developers to install heat pumps in new homes, which provide much cheaper heating and cooling, instead of gas.

Ending the subsidy would be a win-win-win-win. It would lower energy bills for existing customers, lower energy bills for new homebuyers, lower carbon emissions, and avoid even more cost down the road when homes heated with natural gas convert to heat pumps.

There is, however, one loser – Enbridge Gas. It would lose millions of dollars in profits, and it is lobbying hard against the Energy Board decision.

It’s no surprise that Ford’s minister of Energy, Todd Smith, has announced that they will pass legislation to overturn the decision.

But gas is no longer the cheapest heating source. Investing in gas pipelines for heating is financially foolish because they will become obsolete and a massive cost to all current and future customers as we move away from gas heating.

The government’s own expert electrification panel noted “growing indications that it is unlikely that the natural gas grid can be decarbonized and continue to deliver cost-effective building heat.” Our neighbours, like New York State and Montreal, are prohibiting gas in new construction.

Passing legislation to reinstate a subsidy is completely out of step and risks financial disaster down the road.

The Ontario Energy Board made the right decision, based on evidence, to lower your energy bills. The Ontario government is on course to make the wrong decision, based on back-room lobbying, to raise your energy bills.

But over the years we’ve seen this government bend under public pressure and reverse decisions like opening parts of the Greenbelt for development.

Hopefully the evidence and the truth will prevail, the government will respect the independent decision of the Ontario Energy Board, and you will be protected from this rate increase.

— Peter Tabuns

Ontario could be at risk of energy shortfall this summer, report finds

CTV - Ontario could be at risk of energy shortfall this summer, report finds

" But the New Democratic Party MPP Peter Tabuns feels like funding cuts to renewable projects by the Progressive Conservative government are partially to blame for the summer assessment’s conclusions.

“Ontario is the only province in Canada that is rated with elevated risk that it can’t meet peak demand,” Tabuns said in the Legislature Thursday. “After five years, this government’s policies of cutting funding for efficiency and conservation, of demolishing wind farms and cancelling other renewable projects have led to this.

“We’re going to see more extreme weather that increases the chances that we’ll have outages.” "

FULL Story here:


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