In effect until 2023, the agreement allows Ontario to import up to two terawatt hours of clean hydroelectric power a year – enough to serve a city the size of Kitchener.
The two provinces will sign a seven year agreement Friday when the Wynne and Philippe Couillard governments hold a joint cabinet meeting in Toronto.
The seven-year pact – saving the province $70 million – will have only a “small” impact on household electricity prices but will trim 1 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually, a senior Ontario official said Thursday.
“By combining Ontario and Quebec’s ample resources and talent we can accomplish much more together than we would separately”, said Wynne. They declined to say how much Ontario is paying Hydro Quebec for power, saying it’s “commercially sensitive”.
Peter Tabuns, the NDP’s energy critic, said he supports purchasing hydro power from Quebec but would have liked to see a bigger deal.
Under an expanded conservation measure, another 1,000 companies will be given cheaper electricity rates in exchange for reducing their use during periods of peak demand.
Under the agreement, Hydro Quebec will provide electricity to Ontario using existing transmission lines.
Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner called the Quebec deal a step in the right direction, but said the province should not extend the life of the Pickering nuclear station or rebuild the reactors at the Darlington station. Now we have broken the ice and made the first step toward really tapping into the benefits that would come with replacing ever more expensive nuclear with low-priced water power.
The deal will also allow Ontario to keep up to 500 gigawatt hours of power behind Quebec’s dams in a “pump storage” system, allowing Ontario to reduce its surplus generation.
The deal likely won’t do much to lower hydro bills across the province, however.
“The electricity grid has already been largely decarbonized because Ontario got rid of coal fired power, there’s still some emissions there and they all come from gas”.