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Renewable Energy + Storage a better option for Ontario than Nuclear Power

Is nuclear refurbishment Ontario’s best option?, Corporate Knights, BY TYLER HAMILTON FEBRUARY 11, 2015 A renewables and energy storage combo could do the job and shouldn’t be ignored, a Navius Research analysis argues. ances are slim that shiny new nuclear plants will be built in Ontario. High upfront costs and a history of delays and cost overruns are among the reasons “new builds” will likely never happen in the province.

But there remains widespread debate over plans to refurbish existing reactors at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station in Clarington, about an hour east of Toronto.

Ontario Power Generation, the province-owned electricity generator, is determined to rebuild the cores of four reactors at the Darlington site. Together, the four reactors represent about 3,500 megawatts of generating capacity and refurbishing them will extend their lives by about 30 years.

The utility estimates the project will carry a final price tag of $12.9 billion once completed a little over a decade from now. Is that a deal for Ontario ratepayers, or is there a better, less risky, and just as climate-friendly alternative?

Let’s put aside the standard anti-nuclear talking points about the risk of a Fukushima-style accident or the challenges and unknown costs involved with storing highly toxic nuclear waste far into the future. A new case study done by Vancouver-based Navius Research calls into question the wisdom of Ontario’s refurbishment plan in a world where solar power and energy storage costs are falling dramatically.

The Navius report, using a detailed model of Ontario’s electricity system that accounts for the current mix and performance of energy generation, simulated the grid for a full year under a variety of different conditions to see how it would respond.

It found that renewables in combination with the right amount of energy storage – in this case, compressed air energy storage (CAES) – and a small amount of natural gas generation would result in “equivalent GHGs and quite similar electricity system costs” compared to nuclear refurbishment……..

the findings are compelling enough that it should give Ontario pause before taking the plunge with Darlington, …….

February 13, 2015 - Posted by | business and costs, Canada, renewable

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