By James Scongack, Bruce Power
You know the push for a clean energy future is rolling in the right direction when the guitarist for one of the most famous bands on the planet suggests during a panel discussion that countries need to consider incorporating next generation nuclear power into their plans to meet climate change targets.
“We have to open our minds to third generation nuclear energy being a possible solution,” said the Edge, aka David Evans, of U2, in his home country of Ireland. “We’ve got to be prepared to rethink certain things.”
Last month (Apr. 15 to be exact) marked seven years since Ontario phased out coal-fired electricity in what is still considered to be the largest clean-air initiative in North America. By returning our Units 1-4 to service over the previous decade, Bruce Power provided the province with 70 per cent of the carbon-free energy it needed to eliminate coal and provide a healthier environment.
“Today, we are seeing practically no summer smog days in the greater Toronto area, which directly correlates with the province’s increased reliance on carbon-free nuclear energy and the phasing out of coal,” Vanessa Foran, president and CEO of Asthma Canada, said in acknowledging the seven-year anniversary. “As we reduce carbon emissions, we increase the quality of life for our residents, especially those with asthma and allergies.”
We’re just getting started on the work towards an emissions-free province, and country. Since last October, Bruce Power has announced its commitment to playing a leadership role in having a Net Zero Canada by 2050 with a five-pillar strategy that includes creating an ecosystem of “green collar” jobs. At the end of March, we became the first nuclear operator in North America to announce a commitment to achieving Net Zero greenhouse-gas emissions from operations on our site by 2027. It’s an ambitious milestone but one we believe we can achieve by minimizing and offsetting emissions from our use of vehicles, machinery, buildings and equipment.
We also announced that the company will host a Clean Energy Innovation and Recovery Summit in September, with a focus on the latest updates from the Bruce Power Centre for Next Generation Nuclear Technology at the Nuclear Innovation Institute in Saugeen Shores. They will include partnerships with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, hydrogen and fusion technology, public health integration in a post-COVID19 world, medical isotopes and new nuclear.
To further support our Net Zero commitment, Bruce Power is launching a Carbon Offset Co-op to fund grassroots initiatives that will both remove and offset carbon emissions. The Co-Op has launched a website at www.carbonoffsetcoop.com and is seeking ideas for projects with funding to begin next year. It’s an opportunity for businesses, residents and municipal officials in our communities and people working in our local agricultural industry to be part of the Net Zero solution by participating in programs here at home to remove and offset carbon.
To paraphrase Edge, Bono and the rest of the band, we still haven’t found what we’re looking for as it applies to a Net Zero Canada. But we’re headed down the right road.