Darlington, Pickering nuclear plants to play major role in OPG-Microsoft energy credit plan

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Published October 14, 2022 at 10:27 am

Nuclear plants in Clarington and Pickering will play a key role in a strategic partnership between Ontario Power Generation and Microsoft that will see the software giant procuring clean energy credits from OPG’s nuclear and hydro assets.

Revenue raised through sale of the energy credits can be used to benefit ratepayers and support investments in new clean generation in the province, helping to meet increased demand for electricity to power Ontario’s economic growth.

“This innovative partnership will not only spur economic development in Ontario, but also serve as a model for other companies and jurisdictions to encourage use of clean hydro and nuclear power,” said OPG President and CEO Ken Hartwick. “As part of OPG’s Climate Change Plan, we committed to achieving net zero as a company by 2040, and to act as a catalyst for efficient economy-wide decarbonization. Ensuring industry has access to clean energy to offset emissions assists in meeting that goal.”

The partnership, aimed at tackling climate change and driving sustainable growth across Ontario, will help Microsoft power its data centres around the globe with carbon-free energy, around the clock, while advancing progress on its 100/100/0 by 2030 goal.

Along with the purchase of clean energy credits from OPG, the two companies will also collaborate on several other sustainability initiatives, including:

  • Co-developing an hourly energy matching platform that utilizes Microsoft technology to match a customer’s power needs with local carbon-free energy sources, giving customers greater transparency and accuracy on their emissions impact.
  • OPG has chosen Microsoft’s Azure as its cloud platform to modernize applications, IT infrastructure and services, a decision that is also expected to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
  • OPG and Microsoft will explore digital co-innovation opportunities to accelerate OPG’s Small Modular Reactor (SMR) program, with a goal of developing a service that other global energy providers can leverage in the future to deploy SMRs locally to fast-track clean energy solutions.
  • Microsoft and OPG will also evaluate procurement of CECs associated with the carbon-free energy produced by the soon-to-be-constructed Small Modular Reactor (SMR) at the Darlington Nuclear Project site.

“We can only address climate change by tackling the challenge collectively. Agreements like this one with OPG will help Microsoft move closer to achieving our sustainability commitments, including our goal of having 100 percent of our electricity consumption, 100 percent of the time, matched by zero carbon energy purchases by 2030,” said Microsoft Canada President Chris Barry. “Working closely with like-minded organizations like OPG will help us move toward a more sustainable future, while continuing to power innovation in Ontario.”

As part of the partnership, OPG has also joined the CEO Pledge, an initiative launched by Microsoft Canada, to commit its used technology to the Government of Canada’s Computers for Schools Plus (CSF+) program, with the goal of bridging the digital divide. The two companies will also roll-out a series of digital skilling initiatives to provide Indigenous communities with tangible opportunities, including skills-building to increase economic and employment options.

“As environmental goals increasingly influence corporate decisions on where to invest and grow, this partnership between OPG and Microsoft illustrates the potential for Ontario’s Clean Energy Credit registry to draw businesses from across the world to our province,” said Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith. “This voluntary registry will incentivize investments in new clean energy generation and technological innovation while reducing costs for ratepayers.”

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