Understanding the Road Map to Net Zero

At a virtual event held yesterday, June 9th (2022) at the Nuclear Innovation Institute Bruce Power with a panel of four and hosted by James Scongack,Bruce Power’s Chief Development Officer and Executive Vice President, Operational Services, the Road Map to Net Zero and the progress it’s making through this multi-faceted action plan to tackle climate change and support Net Zero goals of Ontario and Canada was revealed.

(L-R) Chad Richards (Director Centre for new Nuclear & Net Zero Parnerships); Jason Clarke (Sr. Advisor GHD); Katherine Balpataky (Sr. Director Corporatte Partnerships ALUS); Danielle La Croix (Sr. Director Environment Sustainability & Net Zero Bruce Power) and James Scongack (Chief Development Officer and Executive Vice President, Operational Services Bruce Power)

Building on the leadership role and successful track record that Bruce Power and the nuclear industry have played by phasing out coal in Ontario, the Road Map to Net Zero lays out specific actions and commitments to innovation in the Clean Energy Frontier region that will advance the fight against climate change while creating good jobs and benefitting ratepayers.

Each panel member explained the role that the organizations they represent play when it comes to achieving Net Zero.

“Electricity generation is fundamentally linked to climate change and decarbonization, and nuclear is an integral part of our clean energy mix,” said Scongack. “We are investing in our nuclear fleet to continue to provide clean, reliable energy to Ontarians for decades to come, and our action plan leverages Ontario’s nuclear advantage to help achieve our climate targets.”

According to Jason Clarke of GHD, in a 2022 report from GHD Limited, Ontario produced a quarter (26 per cent) of Canada’s overall electricity in 2019. “It accounted however for only six per cent of the country’s total emissions from electricity generation, with nuclear power providing 60 per cent of Ontario’s energy needs daily.”

However, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) projects a need to increase electricity production in the province due to rising demand and reduced nuclear supply due to refurbishments and the planned end of commercial operations of the Pickering nuclear plant by 2025. There is also a risk that as a result of increased demand, the annual emissions from electricity generation in Ontario could increase by 120 per cent by 2030.

With the projected increase in emissions from electricity production over the next decade, a range of solutions are required to advance Ontario and Canada’s climate goals. Bruce Power’s Road Map to Net Zero builds on the momentum of the company’s NZ-2050 strategy to contribute to a Net Zero Canada, while growing the economy and supporting innovation.

Bruce Power’s Road Map to Net Zero includes:

  • Securing decades of clean electricity. Bruce Power’s Life-Extension Program and MCR Project is a long-term investment into Bruce Power’s nuclear fleet, which will secure the site’s operation until 2064.By 2034, following completion of the Life-Extension Project, the output of the facility would result in the avoidance of 15 million metric tonnes of CO2e per year from carbon emitting sources.
  • Optimizing nuclear to power Ontario. UnderProject 2030, Bruce Power will produce upwards of 7,000 MW for the 2030s. This increase in Bruce Power’s generation peak is equivalent to adding a ninth unit to the Bruce Power site through optimization of existing assets, without the need to build new infrastructure.The avoided emissions from the initial phase of Project 2030, which will grow site output to 6,750 MWs, are estimated to remove almost 450,000 metric tonnes of CO2e annually, the equivalent of taking approximately 100,000 cars off the road. To learn more about Project 2030 and resulting displaced emissions, click here.
  • Advancing Green financing. In November 2021, Bruce Power announced the issuance of $500 million in Green Bonds, which is a global first for nuclear power and recognition of the critical role nuclear energy plays in fighting climate change and enabling a Net Zero future. The proceeds are allocated in accordance with the company’s Green Financing Framework for eligible investments associated with Life Extension and increasing output of existing units, both of which contribute to Canada’s prosperous, clean energy future. To view Bruce Power’s 2021 Green Bond Impact Report, click here. Bruce Power is also working to develop protocols to advance the validation of incremental clean megawatts to be accredited as avoided emissions from the output of existing carbon-intensive sources. This would benefit industrial and residential ratepayers with revenue generation that would be used to reduce system costs, while also creating investment opportunities for additional clean energy resources to meet growing energy demand.
  • Sustainability today for tomorrow. Bruce Power has made the ambitious commitment to achieve Net Zero emissions from site operations by 2027, making it the first nuclear operator in North America to announce such a commitment.While the company reliably produces large volumes of emissions-free electricity, this next step ensures it minimizes and offsets emissions from routine undertakings such as vehicles, machinery, buildings, and equipment. Bruce Power’s 2027 Net Zero Strategy outlines key short-, medium- and long-term emissions reduction, substitution and offsetting actions to achieve this goal. Bruce Power’s overall approach to sustainability includes ambitious performance targets, which are outlined in our 2022 Sustainability Report.
  • Investing in local decarbonization. Through Bruce Power Net Zero Inc., the company will look to invest in local clean and complementary technologies, including storage, carbon off-sets, renewables, hydrogen, and electrified transportation. In addition to GHG reductions, these projects will maximize socio-economic and environmental benefits for the communities in which Bruce Power operates.

In addition, to advance its Net Zero 2027 commitments where further emissions reductions are not feasible, Bruce Power will leverage carbon offset credits, including its $1 million Carbon Offset Accelerator Fund in partnership with the Nuclear Innovation Institute. This fund supports grassroots initiatives in the Clean Energy Frontier region of Grey, Bruce and Huron counties that both remove and offset carbon emissions. Most recently through the program, Bruce Power has entered into a partnership with ALUS Canada to work with local farmers, ranchers and landowners to advance nature-based projects on agricultural land.

Katherine Balpataky (Sr. Director Corporate Partnerships ALUS) explained that they are engaging with area farmers to determine what is needed from trees to wetlands and grasslands and are working with the Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII).  “We are going to be testing new technologies. Nature based solutions, an in particular farm-based solutions is a new area.  What we are most excited about with this initiative is that Bruce Power and the NII realize that we can’t wait until we have everything perfect. We have to start mobilizing people and projects now and enhance the project as we go. For other companies that are considering offsets, I would urge them to consider nature-based offset solutions as it makes sense in the Canadian context.  This is an optimization of land assets and looking for land that could be better utilized by nature. The reason that nature-based solutions are so incredible is because they are effective and cost efficient.  The co-benefits are sequestering carbon and bio-mass deep in soils but also water quality and water retention that enhances resilience, reducing flood impact, supports biodiversity that is crucial in sustainability as well as other benefits.  It is a full suite of impacts and ALUS is at the front line of helping our partners to quantify the impacts.”

Scongack went on to say that ” This is ground-breaking but time is not our friend. We have to be quick and we have not made a lot of progress … 2030 and 2070 are not far away.”

GHD Limited (GHD) has also partnered with Bruce Power to develop a strategy to achieve its 2027 commitments and report on the energy sector’s role in Net Zero.

“Ontario’s electricity grid is 94 per cent emission-free and nuclear power makes up a large part,” said Jason Clarke, Senior Advisor, GHD. “To meet future demand and continue progress towards a Net Zero grid, we will need incremental output from existing clean energy assets such as nuclear, as well as investment in other clean energy resources.”

Danielle La Croix, Bruce Power’s Senior Director, Environment, Sustainability & Net Zero added that, “Bruce Power supplies 30 per cent of Ontario’s electricity with carbon-free energy that supports a low grid intensity in Ontario. In addition, Bruce Power’s 2027 Net Zero Strategy will have measurable positive environmental impacts in our region and is a key pillar of our Road Map to advance climate change goals for Ontario and Canada. We are looking at Energy efficiency on site, optimization with things like going to electric vehicles and exploring generators that used hydrogen.”

“This is a global problem,” said Scongack.  “There are other countries that are far behind in technology …  there is no magic bullet, because if there were the problem would be solved.”

About Bruce Power
Bruce Power is an electricity company based in Bruce County, Ontario. We are powered by our people. Our 4,200 employees are the foundation of our accomplishments and are proud of the role they play in safely delivering clean, reliable, low-cost nuclear power to families and businesses across the province and life-saving medical isotopes around the world. Bruce Power has worked hard to build strong roots in Ontario and is committed to protecting the environment and supporting the communities in which we live. Formed in 2001, Bruce Power is a Canadian-owned partnership of TC Energy, OMERS, the Power Workers’ Union and The Society of United Professionals. Learn more at www.brucepower.com and follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram and YouTube.