Ontario energy planners have a long history of over-estimating electricity demand and under-estimating nuclear project costs. It’s a recipe that has left Ontario with a $20 billion energy system debt and a glut of baseload power. Below we illustrate the gap between planner’s projections and real-world results.
Ontario electricity demand – hard to predict
Back in 1988, Ontario Hydro believed that demand for electricity would skyrocket. Hydro predicted that demand would soar to 227 tera-watt hours (Twh) by 2012. Instead demand dropped and took close to a decade to regain its historic high despite population and economic growth. By 2012, demand was actually only 141.3 Twh, 38% less than what Hydro predicted.
Today, electricity demand is again trending downward, but energy planners still insist it will go up — eventually. Given the huge lack of certainty in demand projections, we need an electricity system that is flexible and responsive, not more nuclear white elephants.
Nuclear cost predictions way off the mark
Similarly, our energy planners are ever-optimistic about what it will cost to repair aging Candu nuclear stations (or build new nukes). But they have been well off the mark on project after project as the figures below illustrates. The most recent Candu retrofit project, at the Point Lapreau Nuclear Plant in New Brunswick, has similarly been a fiasco, running $2.8 billion over budget and two years over schedule.
Ontario Nuclear Rebuild Project Costs (in millions of $)