New Bruce Power business to focus on nuclear-complimentary technologies

21 October 2021

Bruce Power has today launched Bruce Power Net Zero Inc to leverage the net-zero generation provided by Bruce's nuclear power plants to enable the company to achieve its own ambition to be net-zero by 2027 and support Ontario and Canada in reaching net-zero by 2050. The new entity is led by Bruce Power Chief Development Officer and EVP Operational Services James Scongack.

James Scongack at the Bruce Power Net Zero Inc launch, which was broadcast from Plug'n Drive's Electric Vehicle Discovery Centre

Nuclear energy from Bruce's nuclear power plants today provides around one-third of Ontario's electricity, Bruce Power CEO Mike Rencheck said at the launch event for the new entity, and will continue playing a key role in Canada's clean energy future. Bruce Power has set out a strategy to become a net-zero company by 2027, and plans to achieve a site peak capacity of 7000 MW by 2030. It is working to position nuclear power as an enabler for clean fuels and transportation, and has partnered with the Nuclear Innovation Institute to explore new technology developments such as new nuclear, fusion and hydrogen. "But as we look at this, we still have more to do," he said.

The creation of Bruce Power Net Zero Inc "solidifies" the company's commitment to leading Canada on the path to net-zero, Rencheck said. "Not only will we uprate the power of our reactors - we will look to unlock complementary technologies to nuclear."

Bruce's eight Candu units are "foundational" infrastructure, both in terms of electricity transmission and also supporting many thousands of direct and indirect jobs and supported by hundreds of companies across Ontario, Scongack said.

"What Bruce Power Net Zero is going to focus on, is what are the other net-zero technologies that can compliment nuclear power?" he said. These technologies include storage, such as pump storage batteries; carbon offsets; renewables, including making the most economic and environmentally effective use of those renewables already on the grid; and technologies such as hydrogen and electric transportation, which will be critical to the future, he said.

The new entity will accomplish its mandate by enabling new business connections with industry, and regional and community partners that reduce greenhouse gas emissions; investing in net-zero infrastructure that generates off-set credits; capitalising on the potential of nuclear power to enable innovation in the pursuit of decarbonisation; and leveraging government support "to unlock investment opportunities that further contribute to a Net Zero future".

As part of this, it will repurpose and leverage the business of Huron Wind, a 9 MW wind farm which was the first commercial wind farm in Ontario, to identify and invest in clean energy initiatives that complement the role of nuclear and assist Bruce Power and Ontario. The launch event also saw Bruce Power commit CAD250,000 (USD203,000) over the next five years directly to Plug'n Drive, an Ontario-based not-for-profit organisation that works to accelerate the adoption of electric cars in order to maximise their environmental and economic benefits.

"We recognise that we can't achieve this without partnerships," Scongack said, adding that Bruce Power Net Zero Inc intends to take a "centre of excellence" approach. The company is today launching a formal Expressions of Interest process for organisations or individuals to bring forward proposals, ideas and business cases for carbon reduction projects. Proposals will be accepted until 30 June 2022.

Net-zero will only be achieved by action, Scongack said. "We don't achieve it through talk, we don't achieve it through announcements … We have to recognise that one of the most significant climate initiatives in the world achieved since the year 2000 was the phaseout of coal in Ontario. The phaseout of coal-fired electricity in Ontario was only possible through nuclear power.

"If you're serious about net-zero, if you're serious about fighting climate change, you have to be serious about nuclear. That's why we're using nuclear as a foundation to build off as part of integrating these other technologies through Bruce Power Net Zero."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News