OPG in the Community – November, 2020

Fred Kuntz, Sr. Mgr., Corporate Relations and Projects | Bruce County

Bold action on climate:  Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has released its first Climate Change Plan, setting a goal to be a net-zero carbon company by 2040 and supporting a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. The plan details OPG’s plans in innovation, adaptation, and mitigation to reduce carbon emissions; it also outlines guiding principles to be transparent and mindful of ratepayers.

“Our promise is to be a catalyst for efficient, economy-wide decarbonisation,” said Ken Hartwick, OPG’s President and CEO.
A PDF of our 54-page Climate Change plan is available for download at https://www.opg.com/climate-change and watch the one-minute video, “OPG – Leading the fight against climate change,” on YouTube.
Over two decades, OPG shut down 9,000 megawatts of coal-fired generation in Ontario – the world’s single largest climate action to date. Today’s announcement shows that OPG will continue to marshal its expertise and assets to make the world better amid unprecedented economic and environmental challenges.
OPG’s action to address climate change will also help create jobs and nurture new industries to make our economy stronger, for current and future generations. Together, we will create a brighter tomorrow.

Community outreach:  In early November, OPG visited six municipal councils around Bruce County (through councils’ online meeting apps such as Zoom and Skype), providing updates about its activities at the Western Waste Management Facility and across Ontario. Many thanks to the elected leaders of Kincardine, Saugeen Shores, Huron-Kinloss, Arran-Elderslie, Brockton, as well as at the county level, for their informed questions and comments – on topics ranging from OPG’s ground-breaking work on Small Modular Reactors, to our sponsorships of local community-building initiatives.

Overcoming COVID-19: At electrical generating stations around Ontario, OPG employees continue to work through the pandemic, while observing strict protocols for safety, physical distancing, wearing masks, and hand-washing and sanitizing. This includes staff at the Western Waste Management Facility, who process and store the by-products of nuclear energy, as well as reactor components from the refurbishments of the Darlington and Bruce. All of this is essential work, to ensure that OPG continues to deliver electricity to homes, businesses and hospitals. Together we will #PowerON.

Around Ontario and beyond:

·         Federal review: The Government of Canada launched a sweeping review of its Radioactive Waste Policy, with plans to engage the public, nuclear utilities, Indigenous peoples and other levels of government. Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan noted that nuclear power will play a significant role in helping Canada meet its commitment of net-zero emissions by 2050, creating jobs and economic opportunity across the country and around the world. The goal of the review, O’Regan said, is to provide leadership on radioactive waste management and continue to meet international best practices. To participate, visit www.radwastereview.ca.

·         New nuclear: OPG has resumed planning for future nuclear generation at Darlington. A Small Modular Reactor at the site “as early as 2028 would benefit all Ontarians while further cementing Durham Region and Ontario as the clean energy capital of the world,” said CEO Ken Hartwick. A study by the Conference Board of Canada shows a single unit would result in 700 jobs in project development, 1,600 jobs in manufacturing and construction, 200 jobs in operations, and 160 jobs in decommissioning – adding $2.5 billion to Gross Domestic Product and $870 million to provincial revenues. Darlington is the only site in Canada currently licensed for new nuclear; OPG has applied to renew that licence.

·         Refurb milestone: Ahead of schedule, OPG successfully completed the defueling of Unit 3, in its continuing refurbishment of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. This clears the way for OPG and its project partner, CanAtom Power Group, to prepare the reactor for disassembly. The four-unit refurbishment project is scheduled for completion by 2026.

·         Water management: OPG staff are responding to “fall freshet,” or seasonal high-water flows. Contributing factors include increased rain in late summer and large rainfalls in fall, said Mike Clarke, a Water Manager in OPG Northeastern Operations. “With the ground already saturated, and at times partially frozen, this increased water will flow directly into lakes and rivers, causing the water levels to rise quickly.” Along with others who act to mitigate the impact, OPG operates its dams and reservoirs to reduce the risk of flooding.

·         Financial performance: In the third quarter of 2020, OPG reported net income of $386 million, up from $319 million a year earlier. The increase reflected higher revenue from nuclear stations and a recently acquired gas-fired fleet. OPG is owned by the people of Ontario through its shareholder, the provincial government.