Toronto, ON — Ontario engineers are warning that electricity costs in Ontario are likely to rise over 220 per cent. Picking the wrong supply mix of electricity to meet the 2035 net zero emission goals could increase costs, reports the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE).
OSPE conducted an electricity system simulation and economic analysis to determine what retail electricity rates will be in Ontario. The report examines various combinations of wind, solar, nuclear, pumped hydroelectric storage, and battery energy storage systems.
Over the next few years, the elimination of over 3,000 MW of zero-emission nuclear capacity at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station will require decisions on how the supply mix should change during the next decade, reports OSPE.
OSPE’s analysis highlighted that expanding the current electricity system capacity with too many intermittent renewable generation technologies will result in significantly higher retail electricity costs.
According to the analysis, from a cost perspective, the worst choice would be exclusively adding only solar photovoltaic (PV) with battery energy storage systems providing the backup. Additionally, if only more solar PV with storage is chosen, retail electricity rates will need to more than double in today’s dollars.
From a cost perspective, the analysis adds the lowest cost, net-zero supply mix that reliably serves the 2035 high demand load forecast is the 2021 Ontario supply mix with additional nuclear generation and a modest amount of pumped hydroelectric storage with natural gas plants repurposed to supply reserve generation using renewable natural gas (RNG) fuel.
If Ontario chooses only more nuclear with storage, the report adds that in today’s dollars, 2035 retail electricity costs will only be about 20 per cent higher than today.