3ThoughtThursday – G7 talks climate, Texas grid, Bruce Power and sustainability
We’re going to England, the United States and then back home for our three thoughts this week. It was a big week for clean energy and climate change on the global stage with G7 leaders meeting in the UK.
Climate change and specifically phasing out coal (a topic that we have discussed extensively on this blog) were among the key agenda items discussed at this meeting—setting the stage for the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (aka COP26) later this year.
We’ll start with that thought and then move to Texas, where weather is once again impacting the capabilities of their electricity grid. And finally we’ll close with some good news here at home in the Clean Energy Frontier region.
1. G7 leaders discuss climate goals
At Carbis Bay, Cornwall in England, leaders of G7 countries gathered to discuss a host of global issues from Covid-19 to taxes.
They also had coal in the crosshairs and pledged as a group to make meaningful progress on the phase-out of coal-fired electricity generation both at home and in countries around the world that are developing new electricity capacity. The support for other counties was backed up by a renewed commitment to a promise made in 2009 to “jointly mobilize $100-billion per year from public and private sources, through to 2025.” We know that phasing out coal can be done. It’s been done right here in Ontario.
Because of Ontario’s commitment to phase out coal-fired electricity generation, our province now operates an electricity grid that draws more than 90% of its power from emissions-free sources.
The backbone of which is clean and reliable baseload power from the province’s nuclear generators.
The lesson here for G7 leaders making these pledges? Look to Ontario as a model for how to phase out coal around the world.
2. Texas power grid struggling with heat wave
First too cold... now too hot… Texas’ electricity grid is back in the news. Earlier this year, my colleague David Campbell from the Bruce Power Centre for Next Generation Nuclear wrote about an unusual situation in Texas. A rare winter storm with sub-zero temperatures caused generators to be taken offline and left many Texans without electricity and struggling to stay warm.
Now, a summer heatwave has led Texas’ grid operator to ask customers to tone down their electricity consumption to avoid overloading the grid and causing an emergency across the state. This highlights, once again, the importance of long-term energy planning, interties with neighbouring jurisdictions (Texas essentially operates as an island as the only grid in the US contained completely within its own borders), and back-up energy reserves with the ability to provide power when it is needed most.
In Ontario, we have a robust regulatory regime and an excellent grid operator known as the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) that continually assesses long-term system needs. We are also connected to neighbouring jurisdictions and have the ability to sell when we have too much electricity or purchase power when we need a little more.
It’s because of these backstops that many of us never have to second-guess whether or not the lights will turn on.
3. Bruce Power releases Sustainability Report
Yesterday, Bruce Power released its 2021 Sustainability Report. The report itself is a disclosure of the company’s Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) commitments and the progress being made to meet those goals.
For our region, the report shows that Bruce Power is committed to a sustainable future for our local communities and our climate.
Contained within the report is information on the numerous projects that Bruce Power has undertaken locally to protect the environment, improve local waterways, develop carbon offset opportunities in the community, tree planting efforts, mitigating invasive species, studying climate change and more!
It’s definitely worth a read through. Check it out here!
Chad Richards is the Director of the Clean Energy Frontier.