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September 21, 2021

The Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management committee for the City of Ottawa has just approved a motion calling for Ontario to phase out its natural gas power plants by 2030.

Speakers at the meeting supported the phase out and a move to “alternate” or renewable forms of power generation. A speaker for the Ontario Clean Air Alliance erroneously said that Ontario has too much power which is why the province sells it to other jurisdictions at a loss—this is not correct. Often the surplus power comes from wind power which is generated in Ontario out of phase with demand. He also said that wind turbines in the Great Lakes could produce 80% of Ontario’s power, which is also not supported by the facts.

Speakers also referred to extreme weather events as a reason to phase out the natural gas power generation; in fact, at present, natural gas provides peaking capacity so in times of high demand due to weather extremes, gas is there to provide power whereas renewables like weather-dependent wind and solar cannot.

A spokesperson for Canadians for Nuclear Energy, Al Scott, commented that if the City of Ottawa wants to proceed with decarbonization, the choice is nuclear. Wind and solar cannot meet demand, he said, adding that wind power in Ontario had been an “unmitigated disaster.”

One councillor asked if there was any information on exactly what the impact would be on Ottawa’s power supply should the gas plants be phased out. This was not available.

Committee Chair Scott Moffatt commented that the City does not have plans to develop wind power itself and it would deal appropriately with any proposals; a staff member confirmed that the Energy Evolution document does mention the use of wind power to get to its Net Zero goal.*

Staff also commented on the detailed information received from Ottawa Wind Concerns.

The Committee voted and the motion carried.

OWC made a submission to the Committee as well as a copy of the Ontario Society for Professional Engineers comment on natural gas phase-out.

*See page 17 of the Energy Evolution document