Thank you, Madam Chair.
Good evening. Thank you for the invitation to participate in this important conversation around small modular reactors.
As mentioned, I'm the CEO of Ontario Power Generation, one of the largest clean-energy generators in North America. We have a very diverse portfolio of assets that include hydro, nuclear, solar, biomass and natural gas, spanning Ontario and certain parts of the United States.
All of OPG's generating units and facilities are located on indigenous traditional or treaty lands. For example, our Darlington small nuclear reactor is located on the shared traditional treaty territory of the Chippewa and Mississauga Anishinabe, collectively known as the Williams Treaties First Nations. OPG has committed to working further with indigenous communities and stakeholders in order to incorporate indigenous and traditional knowledge into the project, further understand the potential impacts of the project, and strengthen assessment and decision-making.
In April 2014, OPG burned its last piece of coal to generate electricity in Ontario. The transition away from coal remains one of the largest actions to fight climate change in the world. Now, we are focused on becoming a net-zero company by 2040 and enabling a net-zero economy by 2050.
Our climate change plan outlines a range of initiatives, including our $13-billion Darlington nuclear refurbishment project—which remains on time and on budget—hydrogen development, hydroelectric upgrades and additional capacity, transportation electrification, and energy storage. It also includes SMRs, which are central to our efforts. In setting our goals, we intend to grow prosperity for Canadians, Ontarians and indigenous communities while delivering more clean energy. We believe that by doing this, we can provide a blueprint for others to follow and achieve similar goals across the energy sector.
OPG has also released our reconciliation action plan, which will guide our work with indigenous communities, businesses and organizations to advance reconciliation in a meaningful way.
This SMR study is being undertaken at a critical time for Canada and Canadians. The worsening climate crisis is now further impacted by geopolitical, economic and energy risks related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Climate change and energy security are interconnected and need to be addressed together.
Without doubling or even tripling our clean electricity supply, Canada will not be able to meet its climate change targets. Nuclear and small modular reactors are essential for meeting and addressing these climate and energy security needs. That is why OPG has been working with industry partners, including those at this table, to develop and deploy SMR technologies. There's a clear need for an energy transition in which multiple technologies enable various regions to meet their common goals.
I like to call this the “all hands on deck” approach. Let me give you an example. I think we've all heard the saying, “The wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine.” That's why we need baseload power from nuclear or hydro.
However, let's understand this a bit further. Some people will say, “Well, let's just build more wind and solar, distribute it and add battery storage. It will all work out fine.” The analysis we did for Ontario suggests that the need for baseload generation is required and will allow for a more efficient and cost-effective system for ratepayers, taxpayers and, ultimately, the climate. Our analysis recognizes that all forms of technology will be required in order to optimize carbon reductions and costs for all involved.
This Ontario analysis shows that the lowest-cost option with maximum carbon reduction is a mix of these various tools: renewables, nuclear, and even a little gas during peak capacity a few times a year. We aren't the only ones who have concluded this. Worldwide, the countries we talk to, such as the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Poland, have also explicitly identified nuclear and SMRs as being critical to their energy and climate needs. I'm sure more countries will follow.
Let me get to what the key takeaways from this need to be.
First, Canada can do this, and in Ontario we are doing this. The most cost-effective path to net zero is a mix of different technologies, somewhat dependent on province and location. More nuclear is required in at least some provinces, and SMRs are a good fit for several provinces.
Nuclear power has been demonstrated to be good for the economy. Building this new nuclear will bring tens of thousands of jobs and billions in electricity benefits. Canada can lead the SMR enablement across the world, and we need to start now and move faster than those around us. With this, we would need federal support, such as what we've had to date, to enable nuclear to accelerate as part of the clean energy economy.