Our Stories
December 6, 2021
6 min read

One year in, OPG making steady progress on Climate Change Plan goals

On the one-year anniversary of its Climate Change Plan, OPG is making steady progress toward its ambitious goals, which include becoming a net-zero carbon company by 2040 and helping the economies where it operates achieve net-zero by 2050.

Car charging at an Ivy charging station
An electric vehicle charges up at an Ivy charging station.

The company continues to look at a range of available and emerging technologies to reach its goals, including electrification efforts, the deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs), investment in hydro generation, hydrogen development, and carbon capture and storage technologies.

“A lot can change in 20 to 30 years, and so the ways we can reach our goals are flexible,” said John Beauchamp, OPG’s Director of Corporate Environment, Health and Safety. “For each carbon reduction measure identified, there is a range of potential applications that will be balanced to achieve our goals.”

In late November, the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) awarded OPG with a Sustainable Electricity Award in recognition of the Climate Change Plan and OPG’s commitment to continuous performance improvement.

The Darlington New Nuclear Project, which aims to deploy Canada’s first commercial, grid-scale SMR, also received the CEA’s Centre of Excellence Net Zero by 2050 Award, which celebrates Canadian innovation and cutting-edge technology in the electricity sector. In December, OPG announced it will work with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy to deploy Canada’s first SMR at the Darlington site within this decade.

“A lot can change in 20 to 30 years, and so the ways we can reach our goals are flexible.”
John Beauchamp, OPG’s Director of Corporate Environment, Health and Safety

These industry awards recognize some of the major advancements OPG has made in the past year on its key climate actions, including supporting electrification of the transportation sector, which accounts for more than 30 per cent of the province’s carbon emissions.

An aerial view of Darlington Nuclear Generating Station from afar.
An aerial view of Darlington Nuclear Generating Station.

The company continues to expand its Ivy Charging Network, in partnership with Hydro One, which will soon be the largest EV fast-charging network in Ontario with 160 fast chargers across more than 60 sites by 2022. Recently, an agreement with ONroute was announced that will see 69 level 3 fast-chargers installed at all ONroute locations, further easing range anxiety. OPG is also supporting electrification of Ontario’s ferries, mass transit and corporate fleets. The company recently launched a new subsidiary, PowerON Energy Solutions, to provide electrification and charging infrastructure for municipal transit agencies and corporate fleets. PowerON is currently working with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and Toronto Hydro to electrify more than 2,400 TTC buses – North America’s largest transit electrification project to date.

Another OPG subsidiary, Atura Power, is making headway on clean hydrogen development, identifying two production sites to produce this clean fuel source in the future. And on the development of SMRs, the next generation of clean nuclear technology, OPG is leading the way with the aforementioned Darlington New Nuclear Project and the Global First Power project at Chalk River, currently in the licensing process.

An electric bus outside the TTC's Mt. Dennis station.
An electric bus outside the TTC's Mt. Dennis station.

This past year, OPG also made strides on a number of key clean energy projects, including the Darlington Refurbishment, which is tracking on schedule and on budget with Unit 3 now in the reassembly phase. As one of Canada’s largest energy infrastructure projects, the refurbishment will provide Ontario with 30 more years of carbon-free power to support electrification efforts. Several hydro projects are also progressing, including the redevelopment of the Calabogie hydro station in eastern Ontario, part of OPG’s ongoing $2.5-billion turbine/generator overhaul program that will improve about 174 hydro generating units.

These and other initiatives will help OPG meet its climate goals and position the province for success in the post-carbon future.

OPG also recently established a new Climate Change Working Group and Climate Change Steering Committee to help implement the Plan. The Steering Committee will provide strategic advice to OPG and its Board of Directors while the Working Group will identify and execute specific actions to address climate-related risks and opportunities, and report on the Plan’s progress.

Learn more about other progress achieved over the past year under each of the Climate Change Plan’s four key action areas of Mitigate, Adapt, Innovate and Lead.

Mitigate (Reduce carbon emissions from our operations and help the markets where we operate to do the same)
  • Advancing development of clean hydrogen projects. OPG’s subsidiary, Atura Power, has identified two production sites to produce this clean fuel source and is conducting several feasibility studies. Pending approvals, the first hydrogen commercial demonstration production site could be in service as early as 2024.
  • OPG’s supply chain has decreased its warehouse occupancy by 50 per cent, reducing our environmental footprint.
Adapt (Ensure our operations are resilient to the impacts of a changing climate and our host communities are safe)
  • OPG has embedded climate change resilience considerations into its investment planning and continues to implement new resources to identify climate vulnerabilities and to evaluate options for adaptation.
  • Launched a study to review the potential of building wetlands strategically to help regulate water flow upstream of hydro dams.
  • Put into service a new sluice gate at OPG’s Ranney Falls GS to respond to water management issues, which is critical to our adaptation efforts.
Lead (Work with others to lead the decarbonization of Ontario’s economy and share our province’s lessons with the world)
  • Issued $375 million in green bonds to be used on clean energy projects through Lower Mattagami Energy Limited Partnership.
  • Established new subsidiary, PowerON, to lead transportation electrification efforts like the TTC eBus project.
  • The Ivy Charging Network continued to grow, adding 19 new fast charging stations and 44 new Level 2 charging ports across Ontario, including northern locations. The network also announced it will install 69 level 3 fast-chargers across all ONroute locations.
  • Partnering with the Ministry of Transportation to electrify ferries in eastern Ontario.
  • Leading the development of SMRs with the Darlington New Nuclear Project, which recently selected GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy as a technology development partner and received a renewed site preparation licence from the CNSC in October, and the Global First Power project at Chalk River, currently in licensing process.
Innovate (Develop and deploy new technologies to speed up Ontario’s energy transformation)
  • OPG has four contracted projects underway to build energy storage facilities at customer sites to reduce need for natural gas-fired generation at peak times. In-service dates range from 2020-2022.
  • OPG’s Monitoring and Diagnostic Centre has deployed Advanced Pattern Recognition models across the company’s fleet to help early detection of degrading equipment, already topping $3.5 million in avoided costs of equipment failure and lost generation.
  • Centre for Canadian Nuclear Sustainability celebrated its one-year anniversary in October and continues to support the goal of achieving a net-zero economy by developing sustainable ways to minimize impact of nuclear power generation and decommissioning.

In the coming months and years, OPG and Net-Zero News will continue to provide updates on the company’s progress to achieve its climate change goals and build a brighter future for all.

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