2017 Long-Term Energy Plan brings good news for Society members on Pickering 2024
Pickering Nuclear Generating Station supports the continued reliability of the Ontario electricity system, the life extension programs at Bruce Power and Darlington generating stations, provides low-cost and low emission power, and supports our economy with thousands of local jobs. On January 11, 2016, the Ontario Government announced that Ontario Power Generation’s Pickering nuclear facility would operate until 2024 as a critical element of Ontario’s Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP). The announcement was then reiterated in the 2016 Speech from the Throne.
After many delays, the government released its much-delayed Long-Term Energy Plan – and it once again contained a lot of positive news for our members. The Ontario government re-committed to the continued operation of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station (NGS) and the refurbishments of Bruce and Darlington stations in the 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP). The government’s decision directly impacts more than 4,000 jobs, including those of 1,200 Society members. This decision to extend Pickering operations until 2024 was made by the Premier and her government following extensive cost-benefit analyses and consultation with energy experts, including The Society.
“Continued operation of Pickering NGS supports good jobs, emission-free energy, and Ontario’s economy,” said SEP President Scott Travers of the LTEP. “I’m glad to see that the government listened to the experts and made an evidence-based decision on this important issue.”
The Society and our members put in a great deal of work to ensure that the government made an evidence-based decision on these issues. Thousands of Society members lobbied, signed petitions and wrote letters to their MPP and made sure that our collective voices were heard. Members refused to take for granted that politicians will simply make the right decisions – especially not when it comes to Society jobs – and all of our hard work is paying off.
“There were a lot of jobs on the line with this decision,” said Society OPG Local Vice-President Joe Fierro. “Pickering supports 4,500 workers in the Durham Region and pumps $1.3 billion into the local economy. This was the right decision for everyone.”
The final hurdles for Pickering include the results of OPG’s rate case presently before the Ontario Energy Board, which should confirm the economic benefit of continued Pickering operations; the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission license renewal that will confirm that Pickering will operate safely to 2024; and based on those two hearings a final confirmation by the cabinet of the Ontario government.
Despite all the evidence, there remain powerful interest groups that want to see all these benefits disappear. With politicians more and more involved in making decisions that used to – and still should – be made by experts. This political interference has led to costly mistakes in Ontario’s energy sector. It is imperative to make sure that our positive message continues to be heard, as anti-nuclear groups are doing their own lobbying and spreading misinformation related to this decision and to the important role of the Pickering facility.
So, all-in, The Society considers the 2017 LTEP to be a positive step forward. It also shows that when Society members organize we have real power.
The Society will be closely watching to ensure that the government follows through on all of its commitments. For now, though, our members can take a lot of pride in the work that they’ve done.