Ontario looks at importing more electricity from Quebec at joint cabinet meeting

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QUEBEC — Ontario will look at the financial implications of buying more electricity from Quebec under an agreement to be signed Friday at a joint cabinet meeting in Quebec City.

The Canadian Press obtained a copy of an agreement between the two provinces to look at the costs of moving more hydro-electric power from Quebec to Ontario, which has some of the highest electricity rates in the country.

The memorandum of understanding calls on the two provinces to “explore opportunities to enhance clean electricity trade in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure system reliability and affordability.”

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Ontario already imports electricity from Quebec, but increasing the amount of power would likely require the construction of new — and expensive — transmission lines.

Government sources say Ontario won’t proceed with any new electricity agreements with Quebec unless it would be cheaper than generating the power itself.

Ontario will need the extra electricity to replace power generated by the Darlington nuclear plant when its reactors are refurbished.

“Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator and Hydro Quebec will work towards a medium-term electricity trade agreement that would provide savings to Ontario ratepayers and provide value to Quebec,” said the MOU.

Ontario’s Green Energy Act gives generous subsidies to wind and solar power producers, but those two sources provided less than three per cent of the province’s electricity on Thursday. Nuclear normally generates at least 50 per cent of Ontario’s electricity, but was up to 66 per cent Thursday.

The Canadian Press

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