BRUCE COUNTY – The Ontario government is starting pre-development work to site the first large-scale nuclear build in over three decades to prepare for rising electricity demand, power electrification and fuel the province’s strong economic growth. Bruce Power will start community consultations and conduct the environmental assessment for federal approval to determine the feasibility of siting up to 4,800 megawatts (MW) of new nuclear generation on its current site.
“Our government’s open for business approach has led to unprecedented investments across the province, from electric vehicles and battery manufacturing to critical minerals to green steel,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. “With our plan already in place to meet demand this decade, we are starting the pre-development work to identify future generation options, including reliable, affordable and clean nuclear energy, that will power our province into the future.”
For the first time since 2005, Ontario’s electricity demand is rising. While the government has implemented its plan to meet rising demand this decade, experts at Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) have recommended the province begin planning, siting and environmental assessment work for long-lead assets, including nuclear power, to meet increasing electricity demand in the 2030s and beyond driven by strong economic growth, electrification and population growth.
Federal approval is the first step in a comprehensive process for approving and building new nuclear power generation projects, which could take a decade or longer. Recognizing new nuclear generation will be critical to making the province’s electricity grid even cleaner, Ontario will continue to work with the federal government to identify and highlight opportunities to reduce inefficiencies and minimize duplication when it comes to federal major project reviews to reduce emissions by getting clean energy projects built quicker.
Initiating this early planning will ensure the province has a reliable, low-cost and clean option available to power the next major international investment, the new homes being built in the province, and industries and sectors across the province as they grow and electrify.
A new nuclear station would also create thousands of new jobs and generate billions of dollars in economic activity across the province for decades to come, while helping to reduce emissions and further Ontario’s clean electricity advantage, which will better position Ontario to compete for international investments, which are increasingly prioritizing access to a clean energy supply.
“Nuclear power has been the stable backbone of Ontario’s clean electricity system for decades and Bruce Power is ready to play an integral role in addressing the province’s future needs, while supporting good jobs and economic prosperity for the future,” said Mike Rencheck, President and CEO of Bruce Power. “We are starting the federal Impact Assessment process to look at new nuclear generation on our site now, to maximize the future optionality for clean electricity in the province.”
This pre-development work will help evaluate the suitability of the site by examining the impacts of a new facility on the environment, the public and Indigenous communities. It will take several years to complete, involving significant public input and consultations with Indigenous communities, and is a pre-requisite for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s multi-stage licensing process for new large-scale nuclear stations.
Ontario and Bruce Power are also committed to continuing cooperation and engagement with both Saugeen First Nation and Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation communities (collectively the Saugeen Ojibway Nation) when it comes to energy planning and future projects on their traditional territory.
This pre-development work is part of Ontario’s plan to prepare for electricity demand in the 2030s and 2040s that will build on Ontario’s clean electricity advantage and ensure the province has the power to maintain its position as a leader in job creation and a magnet for the industries of the future.
- IESO’s Pathways to Decarbonization Report forecasts that in less than 30 years, Ontario could need to more than double its electricity generation capacity from 42,000 MW today to 88,000 MW in 2050. The report forecasts an additional 17,800 MW of nuclear power could be required to meet that increased demand.
- To meet growing electricity demand this decade, Ontario is conducting Canada’s largest clean energy storage procurement, has invested more than $1 billion in energy efficiency programs, is supporting the continued safe operation of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station and is building Canada’s first grid-scale Small Modular Reactor.
- Ontario’s Bruce Nuclear Generating Station is the largest operating nuclear generating station in the world, with the capacity to produce 6,550 MW of electricity.
- Nuclear power currently provides about 50 per cent of Ontario’s electricity supply and has positioned Ontario as one of the cleanest electricity grids in the world.
- The Ministry of Energy is working with the IESO and Bruce Power on a contractual approach to address the costs associated with this pre-development work that minimizes impact on ratepayers. The province will also review opportunities to reduce costs on ratepayers through the application of funds collected from the sale of clean energy credits through the Future Clean Electricity Fund.
"Bruce Power is a leader in producing clean, reliable energy for people in Huron-Bruce County and across the province. The benefits of and belief in nuclear energy are truly generational in mid-western Ontario. These consultations are an integral step in facilitating further growth of our clean energy sector, creating good jobs close to home and ensuring Ontarians have an energy supply they can depend on."
- Lisa Thompson
MPP for Huron-Bruce
"This is a very exciting development for the future of electricity generation in Ontario and for our Bruce Grey community. Bruce Power has such a positive impact throughout our region, we look forward to following the progress of this pre-development work."
- Rick Byers
MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound