Ontario's energy plan will 'fuel our growth for decades to come' says Windsor's mayor

AM800-News-Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens-Energy Minister Todd Smith-July 10-2023

Windsor's mayor says this will "fuel our growth for decades to come."

Mayor Drew Dilkens is reacting to the Ontario government's plan to meet the province's growing electricity needs in the 2030s and beyond.

The Powering Ontario's Growth plan, announced Monday in Windsor by Energy Minister Todd Smith, will see the province build a new, large-scale nuclear plant at Bruce Power and three new small modular reactors at the site of the Darlington nuclear plant.

The government also plans to secure new power generation from green sources such as wind, solar and hydroelectric in an effort to move away from natural gas.

Dilkens says the big part of the announcement is making sure we have the power available to attract investments like the NextStar Energy electric vehicle battery plant.

"We know that the province accelerated the transmission line, that's a billion dollar project, but in that transmission line has to flow power," he says. "This is the long-term plan to say 'we're going to have the power', not just in Windsor-Essex but throughout Ontario, to support the growth of the work we're doing in the mayor's office, city hall and Invest WindsorEssex." 

The province is currently spending $1-billion on five transmission line projects between London, Windsor and Sarnia, including one that will run through Lakeshore to Windsor to supply power to the NextStar Energy electric vehicle battery plant.

AM800-News-Energy Minister Todd Smith-July 10-2023

Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith makes an announcement outside the J.C. Keith Transformer Station in Windsor. July 10, 2023. (Photo: Energy Minister Todd Smith Twitter)

Dilkens says people want to make sure the power supply is there.

"This is the big part of that overall, complex electricity puzzle, making sure we have enough power where we need, when we need it," he says. "It's good for Windsor with the incredible growth we're seeing, this power and this announcement will fuel our growth for decades to come."

Dilkens says this announcement is forward looking and may take a decade or more to realize, but they have to look forward to support industrial opportunities and the 500,000 homes the province wants to see built in the next decade.

"I'm really excited about this because I know what it means for our region," he says. "I know what it means looking forward and looking for opportunities. Yes the NextStar deal and the supply chain, but what's next after that? That's the stuff we're working through. One of the central questions that these developers and site locators are looking for is do we have enough power?"

Minister Smith says the new planned procurement of green power, including wind, solar, hydroelectric and biogas, will pair well with recent energy storage procurements, so that power generated by solar panels, for example, can be stored and injected into the system when needed.

The Independent Electricity System Operator has said that Ontario's electricity demand could double by mid-century.