Ontario will buy 14 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity from Hydro-Québec under a seven-year deal announced Friday by Premiers Kathleen Wynne and Philippe Couillard.
“Ontario will reduce electricity system costs for consumers by about $70 million from previous forecasts by importing up to two terawatt hours annually of clean hydro power from Quebec at targeted times when natural gas would otherwise be used,” the province said in a release. “Ontario will also leverage Quebec’s energy storage capacities to make better use of its own clean energy resources,” and “reserve 500 MW of capacity for Hydro-Québec to meet Quebec’s winter peak demand.”
The two provinces will also cooperate to develop a high-speed electric vehicle charging network, with Ontario committing to 200 new chargers by the end of March 2017 along Highway 401, the main Ontario corridor that connects the two provinces.
“This is a win, win, win situation,” said Équiterre Senior Director Steven Guilbeault. “It’s good for Ontario ratepayers who will pay less for their electricity, for Quebec because it will be able to sell some of its electricity surplus, and for the planet, since it will result in lower greenhouse gas emissions” by reducing Ontario’s use of natural gas.
“We congratulate Premiers Wynne and Couillard for working together to further integrate the electricity systems of our two provinces for mutual advantage,” said Ontario Clean Air Alliance Chair Jack Gibbons. “By importing Quebec water and wind power, Ontario can lower its electricity bills, reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, and close the 45-year-old Pickering nuclear station in 2018, when its licence expires.”
OCAA Outreach Director Angela Bischoff calls the deal “an important beginning to a new, more integrated approach to meeting the needs of both provinces: Ontario gets reliable, low-cost, clean renewable power while Quebec gets more value from its growing surplus of water and wind power.”
But she stresses that the announcement “should be just the beginning of a beautiful friendship as our two systems are well matched: Ontario needs to lower costs and move away from its overwhelming reliance on increasingly expensive nuclear power, and Quebec needs to find new buyers for its growing supply of renewable energy.”