TORONTO – Ontario’s electricity system operator says phasing out natural gas generation by 2030 would result in rotating blackouts and higher electricity bills.
The Independent Electricity System Operator examined the idea after 31 municipal councils in the province called for the move by the end of the decade.
A report released today by the IESO says it wouldn’t be possible to phase out natural gas generation on that timeline, but there are potential pathways to do this over a longer period of time.
The operator says phasing out gas generation by 2030 would cost more than $27 billion to install new supply and transmission lines, equalling an extra $100 on an average electricity bill.
The IESO says gas is almost always available, providing balance when wind and solar generation is variable and responding quickly to changes in demand, so removing gas generation by 2030 would lead to blackouts.
The report says there isn’t enough capital, equipment and staff to build necessary replacement infrastructure by 2030, and it would mean relying on newer forms of supply such as storage and small modular reactors, which wouldn’t be available by that time in Ontario at the scale needed.