Ontario Power Generation Report on Performance

OPG has produced a glossy 8 page report that was sent to CEO’s across the Province.  It has some interesting insights.

OPG supplied 70% of the province’s power last year.  The report of course talked about nuclear performance.  Their nuclear plants produced 46.3 TWh of power last year, about 5% less than their production target, but 4% more than last year’s, due to the full year operation of refurbished Pickering unit that was refurbished in 2005.  It seems that we need to do expensive refurbishments just to stay even, as we slip back based on overall performance.

OPG’s waterpower stations contributed 33.3 TWh to supply last year, up from 32.6 TWh in 2006, because of more rain.  OPG spends $160 million a year to maintain and enhance their waterpower stations.  That is a very small sum compared to the nuclear repair expenditures.  Since 1992, they have added 425 MW of capacity, including 25 MW in 2006.  They have plans to add another 116 MW by 2015.  The Ontario Waterpower Association has consistently said that Ontario has 4000-5000 MW of additional supply, but our difficult permitting processes make it extremely difficult to develop.  OPG is demonstrating that they are finding additional capacity within their system.

There was a photo of Big Becky, the tunneling machine that is building a new tunnel at Niagara falls.  When complete, this project will add 1.6 TWh per year of new supply.  The 12.5 MW Lac Suel water project is underway, with completion expected at the end of 2007.  OPG is part of the renewable future.

They talked about proposed nuclear refurbishments at Pickering B, and have an environmental assessment process underway for this.  And they have begun an environmental assessment process on a new nuclear build at Darlington.  But perhaps we won’t need it.

The most interesting part of the document was under “Challenges Ahead”.  OPG states that one challenge is slow growth in Ontario electricity demand.  Through 2006, demand was down, on a weather adjusted basis by about 2%.  It’s interesting that a Crown Corporation has this as a concern.  It should not be a concern.  It should be celebrated.  Because with lower demand, we can accelerate the coal phase out, (or simply burn less coal), and/or we can avoid a risky and costly new nuclear build decision.  After all, the new nuclear build proposed by the OPA is for 1000 MW, which would supply about 5% of the province’s power.  With the Beck tunnel providing 1%, other waterpower, windpower already on order or in the pipeline, and decreasing demand, the case to build the new nuclear station becomes weak indeed.

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