Duncan Hawthorne delivered a strong endorsement of nuclear power to members of the Ontario Energy Network in Toronto on Tuesday, reminding the 300 energy sector representatives that innovation has been the theme of Bruce Power’s impressive story to date.
Hawthorne, who was introduced by Paula Conboy of the Ontario Energy Board as “a leader, visionary and philanthropist,” said the story of innovation often gets lost when the Bruce A Restart story is told. He reminded the crowd that much of the work was first-of-a-kind, but industry critics tend to focus on cost and timelines.
“Do not let that overshadow the tremendous skills that were brought to bear in doing something that no one had done before,” Hawthorne said.
In discussing the province’s review of the Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP), Bruce Power’s President and CEO said he believed the provincial government would get the supply mix right and was characteristically blunt in his view of the role nuclear should play.
“The nuclear component in this province’s supply mix is fundamental to providing a secure, environmentally sound and cost-effective energy supply…If you don’t want nuclear power in this province then fill in the blanks.”
He acknowledged the challenges ahead in successfully refurbishing 10 nuclear units in the province but added Bruce Power has done everything before, which means the challenge is not a technical one but more one of timing and coordination. The recipe for success in the provincial energy industry is a simple one, Hawthorne said, stressing the need for a plan, increased energy literacy and policy stability.
Hawthorne acknowledged Bruce Power did not support new nuclear in its submission to the LTEP review, not because the company doesn’t see value in new nuclear, but because it would lead to a supply mix too heavily weighted in nuclear during a time of abundant supply. He stressed there are positive attributes to all technologies but encouraged a renewed commitment to energy literacy by the sector as the public gets confused when technology proponents makes claims that are not realistic.
“You can’t replace the elephant with a butterfly… that is not a healthy supply mix,” he said.
Conservation was another theme of his address and Hawthorne said if conservation targets aren’t met the province could find itself back in an electricity supply crunch.
“People need to change their habits and we need to not only communicate but design for conservation,” he said, citing hotels in Europe where the power is only available once your key card has been inserted. He dispelled the theory that conservation would only come when electricity became too expensive for people to waste, saying while it might work, it would also bankrupt the province in the process.
“The way to deal with conservation is to appeal to the environmentalist in us all… if I was communicating energy conservation in this province my approach would be to emphasize our responsibility to manage the world we inhabit. As citizens of the world it’s our responsibility not to consume any resource unnecessarily.”
About Bruce Power
Bruce Power operates one of the world’s largest nuclear sites and is the source of roughly 25 per cent of Ontario’s electricity. The company’s site in Tiverton, Ontario is home to eight CANDU reactors, each one capable of generating enough low-cost, reliable, safe and clean electricity to meet the annual needs of a city the size of Hamilton. Formed in 2001, Bruce Power is an all-Canadian partnership among TransCanada, Cameco, Borealis Infrastructure Management (a division of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System) as well as the Power Workers’ Union and Society of Energy Professionals. A majority of Bruce Power’s 4,000 employees are also owners of the business.
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