On the morning of February 15th, 2021, Pickering B Unit 5, which received an HP turbine replacement some time back, hit 560MWe at 9AM. This feat was complimented by Unit 6 getting into the 530’s, both units showing remarkable performance for their age. Producing at 109% of nameplate capacity, this is a clear demonstration of the uprate potential of the Pickering units, which, if leveraged as part of the refurbishment efforts, will drive down the per kWh price necessary to recoup the cost.
As we waved goodbye to 2020 we also did so to another successful year for the four Pickering B units, representing 2,064MW of capacity which managed to produce 15.7TWh, putting their Capacity Factor at 87%, right up there with Bruce and Darlington. This was 4TWh more than Ontario’s 4,951MW industrial wind fleet, the output from which was mostly produced during the periods of lowest demand, a trait also identified by the OEB:
OPG’s plan to replace Pickering with methane (Natural Gas) is completely at odds with the object of putting a price on carbon, which is to drive consumers, including utilities, to other sources that have a lower, or zero emissions footprint. In 2019 Pickering avoided the consumption of 5.9 billion cubic meters (based on average gas plant efficiency) of natural gas for power generation, enough to heat millions of homes for a typical winter. As carbon pricing increases occur, the cost of every kWh generated by gas will become more and more expensive, increasing the value of Pickering’s ability to produce electricity with no direct emissions and satisfy Ontario demand during the peak summer months.
Today in laying out their roadmap for meeting our 2050 emissions targets Bruce Power highlighted, as the first step, that we must “Optimize existing nuclear infrastructure investments to drive further decarbonization“. We couldn’t agree more! This is why we implore the Ford government to approach Bruce Power about assuming operation of the Pickering site and undertake the refurbishment and uprating of the four B units.
Back in 2012, Jack Gibbons and the OCAA advocated for Pickering to be replaced by Natural Gas. Now, they are condemning the use of gas to replace Pickering, saying it can be done with Quebec Hydro, conservation and more renewables. This ignores the fact that Quebec imports from Ontario in the winter and wind produces grossly out of phase with demand in the summer. In fact, during the summer months Ontario’s 5,000MW wind fleet produces less power on average than one unit at Bruce and on the hottest days, output approaches zero.
Doctors For Nuclear and the Save Pickering gang showed up with plenty of support at Queens Park, though attendance was limited to 25 to comply with COVID restrictions. A big thank you for all that attended and showed your support for this critical cause.
Watch our founder Chris Keefer, an Emergency Physician in Toronto, the city powered by Pickering, speak about the facility and the climate.
On Saturday, September 26th between 12PM and 2PM there will be a gathering (with sufficient social distancing) at Queen’s Park in support of saving the Pickering site and refurbishing the four Pickering B units. Details can be found on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/674615829821174/
Mohammed Mahdi has started a petition for our cause at change.org, please sign and show your support for keeping Ontario emissions some of the lowest in the world! http://chng.it/sz54kLft