Hastings Prince Edward MPP Todd Smith says the province’s decision to import enough electricity from Quebec to power a city of over 200,000 people is great but the timing comes too late.
On Friday, Premiers Kathleen Wynne and Philippe Couillard signed a seven-year deal which will see Ontario import up to two terawatt hours of electricity from Quebec annually, allowing the province to reduce its use of natural gas to generate power.
MPP Smith pointed to the auditor general’s report that says the province paid $9.2 billion more in renewable energy projects then they should have.
The agreement is expected to save Ontario’s electricity system about $70 million in costs over the seven years, and allow the province to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by one million tonnes a year.
Ontario plans to join the cap-and-trade market with Quebec and California next January, and Canada’s two largest provinces have been finding more ways to work together on initiatives to combat climate change.
Environmentalists have long urged Ontario to import more clean power from Quebec’s hydro-electric dams, but officials always said that would require huge and expensive upgrades to the transmission lines linking the two provinces.
However, the provinces say the existing transmission lines can support their new power agreement.
MPP Smith expressed he would like to see the province draw from the proposed Marmora Pump Storage Power Project after the seven year contract with Quebec is up.
As part of Friday’s deal, Ontario will also be allowed to keep up to 500 gigawatt hours of power behind Quebec’s dams in a “pump storage” system, which will allow the province to reduce its surplus generation.