Ontario: Clean electricity snapshot
Overview of electricity in Ontario.
Ontario is among the global leaders in generating nuclear power and is leading the way on new small modular reactor (SMR) developments. Building more non-emitting generation facilities like wind, solar, and small modular reactors (SMRs) help create a more sustainable electricity grid while meeting the growing energy needs of Ontarians. Ontario’s leadership role as the first province to phase-out coal has had a significant impact on lowering Canada’s electricity emissions.
A non-emitting electricity grid can have several benefits
In addition to cleaner air and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, a non-emitting electricity grid can provide several benefits:
- Independent experts at Clean Energy Canada forecast that there will be 731,000 clean energy jobs added in Ontario between 2025 and 2050Footnote 1 , bringing in economic growth and new job opportunities as the province continues to moves towards a net-zero economy.
- Canada’s first grid-scale SMR is a 300 megawatt (MW) project being built at Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington nuclear site. The 300 MW project can power 300,000 homes and could create 2,660 jobs in its lifetimeFootnote 2 .
- Renewable electricity projects such as solar and wind are cheaper than natural gasFootnote 3 . They are showing that in Canada a shift to net-zero electricity can support affordability and result in energy savings for households.
As of 2022, Ontario had 5,575 MW of wind and 2,669 MW of solar installed on its grid.
Figure 1: Percentage of electricity sources by type
Natural gas: 6%
Wind, tidal,and solar: 9%
Total Generation: 149 Terawatt hours
Economic opportunities and key projects
Following the historic investments made in Budget 2023, the Government of Canada has now committed over $40 billion to support the clean electricity sector, including with below-market financing through the Canada Infrastructure Bank, grants and contributions such as the Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program, and a new Clean Electricity Investment Tax Credit. These investments being made alongside the Clean Electricity Regulations will help drive significant economic opportunities in the province through the construction of new power sources and retrofitting of existing plants.
The Conference Board of Canada, a not-for-profit think tank, projects that the manufacturing and construction of SMRs in Ontario could add 1,604 jobs per year, and could generate $2.6 billion in gross domestic product, $1.7 billion in wages, and $873 million in Ontario tax revenueFootnote 4 .
There are over 14 colleges in Ontario that offer education in energy systems and renewable energy and there were 127 thousand clean tech jobs in 2021.
Volkswagen is investing $7 billion to build an electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant in St. Thomas, Ontario. It is anticipated to create 3,000 direct jobs and up to 30,000 indirect jobs while generating about $200 billion in valueFootnote 5 .
Keeping electricity affordable
The Government of Canada is supporting households with their energy switching, through home retrofit programs, zero-emission vehicles purchase incentives and more, to help Canadians save on their energy bills.
$40 billion in new Government of Canada measures to meet the growing demand for electricity can minimize future cost impacts being passed down to Ontarians.
Ontarians that make the switch to a heat pump or an electric/hybrid vehicle come out even further ahead since they will pay less in pollution pricing but still receive the full Climate Action Incentive Payment to help with their energy bills.
The province’s Ontario Trillium Benefit offers tax-free payments to help low to moderate income Ontario residents pay for energy costs through the Northern Ontario Energy Credit and the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit.
In February 2023, the Government of Canada announced a $50-million investment in the 250 MW Oneida Energy storage project in partnership with the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation. The Indigenous-led project will help support Ontario’s clean energy grid while creating jobs and reducing emissions.
The Government of Canada is investing $35 million in the Whitesand First Nation owned Sagatay Co-Generation Limited Partnership to build a heat and power facility that uses locally sourced wood waste to produce energy for Whitesand First Nation, and in Armstrong and Collings, Ontario.
The Government of Canada has announced $3.95 million in funding for Shell Canada to install 79 Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers across 37 Shell retail locations along critical corridors between Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
The Government of Canada is investing $62 million to support the Durham Region Transit’s purchase of 98 zero-emission buses over the next four years.
The Government of Canada is contributing $1.3 million to the Confederation College of Applied Arts and Technology in Thunder Bay, Ontario, to increase the college’s capacity to achieve a net-zero facility that uses renewable energy.
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