The PEC threat

The Portlands Energy Centre is rapidly rising on the waterfront.  It is already an eyesore.  The question now is if it will operate and how often.  Torontonians are going to have to be a lot more vocal and active if they don’t want another power plant belching emissions into our overburdened airshed.

We were all told that we needed a new plant burning fossil fuels in the Portlands because that was the only way we could possibly meet Toronto’s rising energy needs.  Now it turns out that not only will the Portlands plant run whenever it can make a profit, it is contractually obligated to do so.  Given current natural gas prices and available power plants, the business plan foresees operating 40% of the time.

And unfortunately, the most profitable time will be closely correlated with the smoggiest days in a city where thousands die each year from respiratory diseases associated with existing smog.

Given the necessity of paying for this folly, the Province has no incentive to invest in conservation now.  They’d like to see the PEC become vital and necessary.  We need a massive public push to force the Premier to change the operating protocol on the Portlands plant so that it operates only when all other avenues have been exhausted.  Then we need to make sure that we create other avenues by lobbying the Province and City for more spending on conservation and renewable power, and we need to challenge ourselves to bring down our energy use as much as possible.

I’m in Nova Scotia now, helping Elizabeth May, and reading the PEC flyer that was sent to me, I was just devastated by the misinformation campaign. Please help fight the PEC now and help me when I get back at the end of August.

We need to regroup, we need to strategize, we need to fight this beast.

Chris Winter of the Conservation Council of Ontario recently pointed out that his family’s electricity use is a quarter that of the average household.  I have this dream of approaching the Premier and pointing out to him that Toronto’s electricity demand has fallen by 10% and that we don’t need the PEC after all.  It’s entirely doable.

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