How OPG is Paving the Way for Ontario and Other Jurisdictions to Decarbonize
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11 April, 2022 How OPG is Paving the Way for Ontario and Other Jurisdictions to Decarbonize
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April 2022
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April 11, 2022

The Empire Club of Canada Presents

How OPG is Paving the Way for Ontario and Other Jurisdictions to Decarbonize

Chairman: Kelly Jackson, President, The Empire Club of Canada; Vice-President, External Affairs & Professional Learning, Humber College

Head Table Guests
David Harris, CEO, Kinectricks
Melissa Hartwick, Vice-President & Head of Partnerships, Flashfood
Lesley Gallinger, President & CEO, Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO)
Michael Kobzar, Board Director, Empire Club of Canada, Director of Sales, Power Transmission & Distribution, Ontario, Siemens Energy Canada 

Moderator
Anita Sharma, Network News Anchor, Host, Moderator, CTV News Channel

Distinguished Guest Speakers
Ken Hartwick, President & CEO, Ontario Power Generation
James Scongack, Chief Development Officer & Executive Vice-President, Operational Services, Bruce Power
Jean-Louis Servranckx, President & CEO, Aecon Group, Inc.

Introduction
It is a great honour for me to be here at the Empire Club of Canada today, which is arguably the most famous and historically relevant speaker’s podium to have ever existed in Canada. It has offered its podium to such international luminaries as Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Audrey Hepburn, the Dalai Lama, Indira Gandhi, and closer to home, from Pierre Trudeau to Justin Trudeau. Literally generations of our great nation's leaders, alongside with those of the world's top international diplomats, heads of state, and business and thought leaders.

It is a real honour and distinct privilege to be invited to speak to the Empire Club of Canada, which has been welcoming international diplomats, leaders in business, and in science, and in politics. When they stand at that podium, they speak not only to the entire country, but they can speak to the entire world.

Welcome Address by Kelly Jackson, President, The Empire Club of Canada
Good afternoon. Welcome to the 118th season of the Empire Club of Canada, and welcome to our very first in-person event in more than two years. We are delighted to be here with you today. My name is Kelly Jackson. I’m the President of the Board of Directors of the Empire Club of Canada, and Vice-President, External Affairs and Professional Learning at Humber College. I'd like to extend a special thank you to all of you, for supporting our events over the last few years. We have successfully held more than 70 virtual events, throughout the pandemic, connecting thousands of people across Canada, and internationally, to the critical conversations and influencers of our time. This past year, we've seen a tremendous period of growth for the Club. We've implemented state-of-the-art technology to help us deliver best in class events, whether in person or online. We refreshed our brand, and we launched a new website, that gives you extensive access to our library of past keynote speeches, and virtual panel discussions. We honoured former AFN Chief Perry Bellegarde as our 2021 Nation Builder of the Year, and we've worked to advance reconciliation, through dedicated conversations, and support for a scholarship fund at First Nations University Canada. Like all businesses and organizations, I would say it's an understatement that our operations have been impacted by the uncertainty, and evolving nature of the pandemic. So, to have achieved these accomplishments, during these times, makes me incredibly proud of the Empire Club, staff team, and all of the dedicated members of our board of directors, some of whom are here today—hi, Mike. I'd like to thank them for their contributions, and I'd ask you to join me.

We also have a number of student volunteers joining us today, and they are here from the Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, at Ryerson University. And I want to give them a special shoutout for their help today.

To formally start us off, I want to acknowledge that we're gathered here on the Traditional and Treaty Lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit and the homelands of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and the Wyandot Peoples. In acknowledging Traditional Territories, I do so from a place of understanding the privilege my ancestors and I have had, since they first arrived here in this country, in the 1830’s. As farmers in Southwestern Ontario, I imagine they felt a very deep connection to the land, and yet likely did not recognize how that connection was built on the displacement of others. Delivering land acknowledgement for me, it's always an important opportunity to reflect on our human connection and our shared responsibility to care for the land. And to recognize that to do so, we must always respect each other, and acknowledge our histories. We encourage everybody here today, or tuning in later on-demand, to learn more about the Traditional Territories on which you work and live.

I'd also like to recognize Revv52, who performed the rendition of “O Canada,” that we heard earlier. Revv52 is a Calgary-based performance ensemble, and we're honoured that they agreed to share their talents with us today, as part of our event. We look forward to showcasing other Canadian artists and musicians at future events, and so if you know of a singer, or musician, or group, who would like to share their video performance or rendition of “O Canada” with our audiences, please be in touch.

As a non-profit organization, it's very important for us, to recognize our sponsors because they generously support us, and they make these events possible, and complimentary, for our online viewers to attend, and to watch later on-demand. Thank you to today's lead event sponsors, Aecon, and Bruce Power; thank you to our VIP reception sponsor, Kinectricks; and to today's supporting sponsor, the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries. And, of course, a big thank you to our season sponsors, the Canadian Bankers Association, LiUNA, Waste Connections of Canada, and Bruce Power.

Finally I’d like to welcome all those who will be watching, or listening in later on the podcast. Thanks for tuning in, and we look forward to hearing from you later about what you think, about what you're going to hear today. Before we get started, just a quick housekeeping note. We have reserved some time today for audience questions, so if you'd like to submit a question for our speakers, you can use your phone and scan the QR code that you will find in your program booklet on the table.

It is now my pleasure to invite James Scongack, Chief Development Officer and Executive Vice-President, Operational Services at Bruce Power, to deliver some opening remarks and to introduce our guests. James, welcome.

James Scongack, Chief Development Officer and Executive Vice-President Operational Services, Bruce Power
Well, I have to say, I have never been introduced with music from Bono coming up on stage, so I feel like a bit of a rock star. Look, thank you very much for having me today, and I’m really excited to be able to formally introduce our guest speaker today, Ken Hartwick. But before I do that, normally I start these with a shameless plug for nuclear power as the sponsor—and we say, if we sponsor, we get to say whatever we want for the first five minutes. But I don't need to do that today, because I think Ken is going to more than cover that in his remarks. What I really wanted to do, you know, all of you know Ken Hartwick. He's been in our sector for many, many years, whether it's in a capacity as Chief Executive Officer of various firms, Chief Financial Officer—and I'm not going to take the time today to read Ken's bio, because I think if you're in the sector, you know, Ken very, very well. What I want to do is talk a bit about what Ken has done at the helm of Ontario Power Generation. So, you know, just before he came in here, I always check on my iPhone, I have an app—and Leslie, it comes from your folks at the IESOs. We plug into the IESO data. It's called Gridwatch, and it says what is going on in the province of Ontario in any given minute. And normally I start by saying, “Bruce Power, we generate 30%.” I'm not going to do that today. Right now, in the province of Ontario, Ontario Power Generation, between Darlington, Pickering, hydroelectric assets, the gas plants, all of the various generating assets in Ontario is generating 60% of Ontario's power. That’s 6 out of 10, schools, hospitals, factories and businesses. So, when you're hearing all that what Ken is going to be talking about today, put it in that perspective. It's not promises about doing things in the future. Right now, Ontario Power Generation is powering 6 out of 10 of these light bulbs in this room. So, how does that happen, how does that happen under Ken's leadership? Firstly, is one of the one of the comments I often get from people, is they say, you know, “Bruce Power and OPG, are you guys not competitors?” I say not at all. If you're in the nuclear business, you're in the collaboration business, and we have incredibly strong collaboration between our two organizations. You know, somebody said, who is the best nuclear operator in Ontario? The truth is, it’s both of us. We're only as strong as each other; and I think that collaboration has really been what has allowed us to turn the corner for nuclear power in Ontario.

But I think there’s two key features of Ken's leadership on Ontario Power Generation; first, I'll talk about technology and then about people. If you look at all of the discussion in the world, you know, there's been a lot of conversation on green bonds, and discussions in Europe on energy independence. What is the only Western jurisdiction that has a serious plan to build new nuclear? Serious plan. It's right here in Ontario. And where is that happening? It's happening first at Darlington, and the success of Ken and his organization, and all of you in the room, with advancing that first SMR. That's key to the nuclear industry in the world, so let's give Ken and his team a huge round of applause for that major achievement.

Now, once we're done our refurbs, we want to build a few too. So, Ken’s gonna set the pace for that. But the second thing, and this is really where I want to wrap up, is I want to talk about people. So, having had the opportunity to work with Ken on a number of occasions, you know, as nuclear folks and folks in the energy sector, we often like to talk about statistics and technologies, but at the end of the day, it's a people business. And I've seen Ken through, whether it's collaboration, whether it's the amazing leadership work that OPG has done on diversity and inclusion. If you look at number of new women in senior leadership positions at Ontario Power Generation, if you look at the diversity of Ontario Power Generation board, if you look at a recent picture that OPG shared, in terms of the first ever all-female leadership in a new control room in a nuclear plant. OPG is leading the way when it comes to equity and diversity, but they are in the people business, and I think you're going to hear that from Ken in his remarks today. So, never forget about the people. So, if I’ve left you with two thoughts of Ken Hartwick, it's one of collaboration, it's one on leading in technology, and it's one of people. So, with that, I'd like to welcome our guest speaker today, Ken Hartwick, and also Anita Sharma.

Now, many of you have seen Anita on TV many times. It's a pleasure to meet you in person—you look in person the same way as you do on TV, by the way, which is good, because you know, so often when you get to know television personalities, you meet them in person, you say it’s not the person I see on TV—and it's so nice to finally meet you. And we were just talking, and I didn't have the chance to introduce Anita, but one of the things in Anita’s background, she's worked in the business community, for the Business News Network. And I can tell you of all of the anchors that we have had the opportunity to deal with in the business sector, you know, there's a lot of anchors that can cover the news that can drive an interview. She knows her stuff. When you ever watch her do an interview on BNN, you ever watch her interview, a business leader, she knows her files, she knows her stuff. And so, I really want to welcome both Anita and Ken, to have a very engaging discussion today. And thank you, Ken, for the opportunity to be here. We're honoured to be your partner.

Anita Sharma, Network News Anchor, Host, Moderator, CTV News Channel
Hey everybody, it’s so exciting to be here in person. Wow. We had a joke on our conference call last week—Ken you weren't on it—but we said, how do you get ready for these things, again? You know, when you wear pants, your skirt, what, how does this go? But it’s great to be here. James, just to pick up on some comments that you made, thank you for the introduction, and I'm sure on behalf of Ken as well; it was very nice. It seems like you really, I'll speak about the nuclear industry here, it seems to be this really super tight community, Ken, where, for all the reasons and perhaps some that you can add as well, Ken, you need to have that collaboration, right? You need to have that tight communication, if you will. There's really no room for error in this in this space.

Ken Hartwick, President & CEO, Ontario Power Generation
Yeah, I'd say, and James covered it really well. I think it's one of the few industries where the industry is as strong as its weakest partner that's within it. And that's why in Canada, you know, obviously, the proximity of Bruce Power and ourselves, we do a lot of work together. And I agree entirely with James's comment—first of all, that I'm going to plug nuclear, so he didn't have to do too much of it—but we do a lot of work together to make each other successful. And same thing with New Brunswick Power, which is the other big nuclear operator out in New Brunswick. So, this is why I think we've built up a capability in Ontario that is second to none.

Anita Sharma
That stated, Ken, it's also very important, because you've got your friends, you have your colleagues in this room; but there's scores and scores of people outside this room, who I think it's safe to say perhaps don't understand nuclear, perhaps they're afraid of nuclear. And I want to get into the world events, I want to get into what's happening with Russia, Ukraine, as it pertains to the energy file, as it pertains to renewables and moving forward, trying to hit climate goals. But, have you noticed a change in perception, in palatability, if you will, in an appetite on behalf of the consumer, the public, the electorate, for more nuclear, given the fact that we’ve seen just such a such a rush on commodity prices—I'm not going to do a BNN segment on commodities today—I know oil is down three percent right now, but it's still pretty strong, right, 94 bucks WTI per barrel. We're talking about aggressive pricing here for commodities, we're talking about Europe. I was sitting next to Jean-Louis of Aecon; we were talking about the situation in Europe, not so much about energy, per se, but I'll mention it, having just come back from Europe. They're scared. They're scared about where they're going to get their energy from. As James alluded to, the nuclear activity here in Ontario, it does seem—it's nice to have that independence, if you will.

Ken Hartwick
Yes. So, maybe I'll start with the first part of that, which was around, have we seen an underlying tone change. And I think you're starting to see it, because what we're seeing now is, what is the enemy? The enemy is climate change. And so, the minute you redefine what the problem is, and we see it, then the conversation becomes, I think, more mature at that point. So, if climate change is the problem, we're trying to avoid, you know, the earth heating too quickly, and doing all the things we want to do around carbon, all the things that are important. The minute you define that as a problem, your mind opens to solutions. If your problem is, could you have a nuclear problem, could you have this problem, that problem, then it doesn't. And that's what I find with our younger people across the country,and elsewhere in the world. They're starting to say, the problem is climate, and can nuclear be part of that answer. And I think both, you know, that part of part of the questions are starting to be yes. And then, to your point on what's happening, you know, Russia, Ukraine. Outside of the, you know, obviously the human tragedy that's unfolding with that, it is now pointing directly to how do we think about energy independence, you know, regionally or continent-wise, differently than what we have. And that needs to be rethought, because it's, and nuclear will be part of that answer. And I think, you know, I often chuckle a little bit—I hear a lot about the ESG crowd, which is important, and you look to Canadian oil, of which we're not involved in, but someone tried to tell me that the ESG for Canadian oil isn't better than Russian oil. Whereas most big investors, BlackRock, you pick your investor, they've all been,” no Russian oil’s cleaner.” I'm not so sure. And this is where I think that people have to start looking at all three letters in ESG, not just the first one, in making the decisions. And I think Canada is really well positioned, based on what's now happening in the world.

Anita Sharma
And let's talk a little bit more about that, just that whole independence idea as well. I want to bring it back here to Canada. I was anchoring the news the night that—and you and I talked about it in our virtual session last year—I was anchoring the news the night of Joe Biden's inauguration, the President of the United States, and the first thing he slammed was Keystone. I'm not here to make a comment either way on oil, gas, nuclear, but I think it struck a lot of Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast when he flat-out said no to Keystone, and then subsequently in messages down the road months later, no to any variety of support for Canadian energy, if you will. In that vein, when you see what's happening in Russia and Ukraine, you're seeing a lot of these countries within the EU now, really do a redo, right, in terms of where's our energy coming from, how independent are we really, at the at the end of the day? But at the same time having that delicate balance, if you will, Ken, of like you said, meeting those climate goals, right? The IEA, International Energy Agency, I believe they set their target for 2050. You all are 2040?

Ken Hartwick
Right.

Anita Sharma
How do you reconcile all of that, and where does nuclear fit in? Because you made a comment earlier to me about nuclear, whether it's SMR’s, small modular reactors, or just, the big shebang, if you will. It takes a lot to get them started, and it takes a lot to wind them down. So it's not a flippant decision for the electorate, for the public, when you think about going nuclear, when you seek nuclear to help you, as a bridge, if you will, to get to 2040.

Ken Hartwick
Yeah, I think what people are starting to see, this has always been a math equation.

Anita Sharma
Right.

Ken Hartwick
And it's never been more complex than that. So, whether your targets are 30, 35, 40, 50, are federal targets, or whether it's the Paris Accord etc. It's always just math. So, if you want to electrify every bus, you want to electrify every building, make it more efficient, electric. if you want to do all that, you need more electricity, so then you just back up and say well, how much more do I need. And we've done the study for Ontario, and it would say the power system needs to be between 70% and 100%, double the size of what it is now. Then you just say, okay, great, if has to be double, or 70, how do you get there. And, you know, if you're not going to do coal, maybe do a little bit of gas, build out some hydroelectric, do some solar and wind—and those are not without their own environmental issues.

Anita Sharma
And that's the Holy Grail, right? The solar energy?

Ken Hartwick
I'm coming back to that, by the way, so...

Anita Sharma
I’m glad, I’m glad.

Ken Hartwick
...and you're going to do nuclear. And this is what every country is starting to see now, is the math equation pulls you towards nuclear. And I think the thing that has always been the negative on nuclear is, can anyone build one cost-effectively? And I think what us and Bruce Power is showing, so, we’re each putting $13-ish billion into our nuclear plants, and what we're showing everybody is yes, you can. And we're progressing well on ours, Bruce is progressing well on theirs. And that will be the one core issue that we're going to demonstrate. And then I think we can be quite honest, the whole group of us lead the world. And that's not OPG, that is OPG, all our amazing partners, suppliers that were referenced at part of this meeting. So, it's the challenge is right there in front of us, but it's just a math equation.

Anita Sharma
Okay, so, you've got your group that you're working with here, many of them inside this room right now. But for a Herculean task such as this—I'm using that word; you can correct me from wrong—you would need other parties at the table as well. That stated, you and I spoke offstage about the federal budget, which is largely seen as one targeting housing, I'll say—I'll take off my real estate cap, which a lot of folks know I love to talk about—but as it pertains to nuclear, I understand you saw something in there for you, your community, your industry, that is quite, for lack of a better word, bullish moving forward.

Ken Hartwick
Yeah. So, it's, I think it's page 98, so if you're only going to read the first 10 pages, you won't get there. But no, in the budget, I think the Federal Government came out very supportive of the industry. They've put money into the regulatory process, which is needed to cite nuclear, and across the country, they put money into their clean energy type of funds that would be applicable to nuclear, and they've started to say nuclear throughout the document. So, that's good. We've always had great provincial support, and our current Ontario government's highly supportive of the nuclear industry. But the federal one, and I think really what happened with the federal side, is they started to look at their own 35 and 50 targets and saying, the only way we're going to get there is to advance the nuclear program.Which means, there are other provinces now looking at this; Saskatchewan is very active, been very vocal about it; Alberta, the oil sands is very vocal about it now as well, so.

Anita Sharma
Oh, that's interesting. You're seeing the province of Alberta really make that shift towards embracing nuclear?

Ken Hartwick
Yeah. We had an event in Regina three weeks ago, or thereabouts, where Alberta was at the table with the three other provinces, being Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick. And Alberta has a different purpose. They're not using it for electricity, for grid, so to speak; they're using it for oil processing, is what their intention is. So, I think it's very quickly becoming part of the decarbonization effort that we're seeing.

Anita Sharma
Is time of the essence here? Because, you know, the public is inundated. Full disclosure: I drive any electric vehicle. A lot of folks....

Ken Hartwick
That’s good.

Anita Sharma
Yeah, thank you. A lot of folks—I just drive it for the power; I like the speed and like a fast car. But do you find that with respect to EV’s, when you've got consumers and the public at large being told electric is the way the future, electric is clean, electric’s where we gotta go. Are we set up, if everyone here, outside this room especially, were to flip the switch and say, I'm going to sell my Audi, or I'm going to sell my Honda, and I'm gonna go ahead—or GM, Oshawa, hello—you know, and I'm gonna go and buy that electric vehicle. Are we prepared for that right now? Is it almost be careful what you ask for, or wish for, if everybody flips the switch overnight?

Ken Hartwick
Yeah, the short answer is no. Like, first of all, the good part of the short answer is, you can't get a car anyway, so, but that's a supply chain problem.

Anita Sharma
So I’m lucky there. I got lucky there.

Ken Hartwick
But yeah, but no. And again, this was touched on in the federal budget, the need for the modernization of the grid to accommodate, I think the number was 30% by 2026, EV’s, and then everybody by ‘35—I forget the exact date. But this is a massive undertaking. The system is not built for electric vehicles. You go into most parts of Toronto, people who live here. Like, where exactly do you charge your car? Like all the infrastructure is older...

Anita Sharma
Correct.

Ken Hartwick
...and needs to be replaced. So, it's, no, we're not ready. But you know, in a way, I sort of put a lot of thought in, or have a lot of hope in, you know, people in this room and outside this room, a pretty innovative bunch. And if there's a great business opportunity to go and do something, innovation tends to solve a lot of problems. So, it's more of a first world problem than a third world one, and I think we'll see companies rally around addressing the infrastructure in a manner that allows it to happen, more or less at the pace—but it can't be done tomorrow.

Anita Sharma
Okay, I want to pivot back to nuclear, because we talked about the IEA’s goals. I know yours are creeping a bit closer, or sooner, if you will; 2040. Where does nuclear fit in the equation here? I understand nuclear represents about 10% of the world power right now, in terms of generation. And I've also read reports where, by 2050, it's also going to be a 10% situation. But at that point, it's going to require the creation, and the implementation, if you will, of a lot more reactors. What does that look like? What conversation are you having around that? Are you finding that you're getting the support that you need, to move forward there?

Ken Hartwick
So, I think there's two parts to that. You know, firstly, on the percentage that's required, it is significant. And I don't think if the power demands of the world increased or doubled, nuclear is going to have to more than double its current position in that. There are not enough critical minerals to do solar, wind, other things, to allow this to happen at the pace; those parts of it. So, I actually think there's growth in nuclear, disproportionate growth. And again, what we're seeing when the Province worked with us to announce the SMR build, what we're seeing is basically, other states, other provinces, other countries, come in on a very regular basis now, and say, can we work with you, watch you to—as we go down the path of putting the first SMR out at Darlington. So, the interest in the world is high, but there's also other big nuclear programs. I think France has announced significant build, you know, the Chinese are building, so there's lots of other big nuclear programs. And what we're seeing now is, countries come back, like Germany, who made a mistake, but they're trying to correct the mistake now, come back and say, do they have to reinitiate their nuclear program? Because, you know, let’s say what they're relying on right now was never reliable to begin with.

Anita Sharma
Yeah, you have to wonder, right? When you talk about the budget, and what was the impetus, what was the motivation for the government to essentially add, what page was it, 98?

Ken Hartwick
Ninety-eight. I think that's where it started.

Anita Sharma
You know, what happened sitting around the round table, and made sure that they had something included with respect to nuclear? I mean, anyone who's looking at the situation in Europe right now, anyone who's looking at the situation in Germany, I would think heads of state around the world are saying, “I don't want to be that country right now.” In terms of the energy crisis, call it what it is. It's a crisis.

Ken Hartwick
Yeah. I think there's, again, if you look at sort of, from a Canadian perspective, you know, four provinces who want to look at nuclear. So, I think for the Federal Government, I would hope, they start to look and go okay, that's more than just one. I think Ontario has been the lead on this, with a group of us here, and the government here, so I think that's been helpful. But I agree with you entirely; from a federal standpoint, start to look around the world and start to say, do we have to be more serious about developing our own options here, versus relying on others? I also think that, again, oftentimes you get frustrated as Canadians, that were too passive, or a bit too shy, to be the try to be the leaders in the world.

Anita Sharma
Not at sports games anymore.

Ken Hartwick
No, no, I know. But on this one here, I think we can lead the world. We have a tremendous supply chain, a tremendous capability across the country, and especially in Ontario, and it's time to lead, and we'll take our bumps along the way, but that's okay.

Anita Sharma
Okay. I love the macro discussion as it pertains to energy, I want to drive it home now. I want to look in our backyard. You know, a lot of folks talk about labour shortages, skilled labour shortages, for whatever reason, whether it's pandemic, maybe the kids made too much money off of crypto, I don't know what's going on, but a lot of my friends who are entrepreneurs tell me man, it's tough to find good skilled workers. Or, you know—and I'm ageing myself here—but kids who want to work. It's really tough to get out there. In that vein, Ken, you talk about the backyard, you talk about a community, and I want to get to the First Nations Aboriginal community, specifically here, that's what I'm getting at. You've got a segment of society where I think, compared to the rest of Canada, they are, it's a young population, correct me if I'm wrong. So, it's a young population. You and I, in our last meeting, talked about the need, the need for reconciliation is huge, and I think that's even an understatement. What is the OPG doing? Can you elaborate more on your plan, I believe it was a $1 billion plan over 10 years, I believe you announced it last year. How much progress have you made since last year, and what lies ahead?

Ken Hartwick
Yeah, so if you go to the, so it’s a Reconciliation Action Plan, and if you go—it's really action 92, which is the one where it said work with our Indigenous communities, our Indigenous leaders, to build out the capability within our businesses, and very similar to our climate plan. So, we put out a billion dollars, we put out hiring targets, the plan has been structured in a way so there's targets in there. So, firstly, all our Indigenous groups that we deal with, they can look and say are we actually doing what we said we would do, which is important. And what I find is happening now, is our Indigenous groups around them, we have Williams Treaties is sort of the group that's around our Darlington Nuclear Station, they are now very active in wanting to build out the capability, in developing skilled trades for their younger people. And a lot of the conversations now, are going right back into the elementary school, high school, to encourage and really to educate as to what that realm of possibilities is, whether it's an engineer, or an accountant, or a welder, like, or tradesperson. It's building up that capability, because I think we've done, you know, as a company, just not as good a job on this as what we needed to do, and that's why we put out the plan. And we had a great group of Indigenous leaders at Darlington a couple of weeks ago, and every one of them now knows they can measure us against something. And I think that's—and every company should have to do this, like this is not something that is unique to OPG. Bruce Power does a great job like up in their community with the Indigenous group, they do a wonderful job of this. But everybody needs to make this near the top of their list to do, otherwise it won't happen, and it's a shame.

Anita Sharma
It benefits you too, though, right? Like, there, again, I get back to the fact that corporations you know, big and small, just that drive, I mean we’re seeing the wage inflation, fortunately or unfortunately, we don't see wage inflation matching regular inflation for, you know, gas, food, etc., housing prices. But your quest to find skilled labour, you know, we're living in an era, at least pre-pandemic, everybody just went to university just by rote, it was just something you did, whether you secretly wanted to be in the trades or not, it's just something you thought you had to do. Where has that put a company like Bruce Power, like OPG, like someone who really needs tradeswomen and tradesmen in their, you know, as part of their team. Where does that put you in terms of are you at all concerned—I guess maybe that's how I’ll ask the question—are you at all concerned about the lack of skilled labour in the workforce? Or is there a lack?

Ken Hartwick
Yeah, yeah. So, I think it's one of the top three issues facing most infrastructure companies, projects, etc. and so, yeah, it is a concern. It's, the workers we have on the trades are exceptionally skilled; they're just not as many. And you know, I think some of it is you see, coming out of the pandemic, people just saying, “I'm going to retire,” so you lose the top part of your workforce, and then it has been a struggle to get young kids in, you know, out of high school into the trades, which is kind of an interesting problem, because I tell you, welder out at Darlington is probably making $150,000 to $200,000 a year. So, it's not like these are $20-an-hour jobs, they’re not. They're skilled, it's safe environment, it's interesting work, but it's really hard getting the inflow that we should, you know, that we should do. So, again, lots of programs provincially, federally on the topic; it just takes time like to get someone, to get enough people going out of high school, into the trades, is a continuous process.

Anita Sharma
What's the biggest challenge? You think you face when you—I don't want to say when you go into the office every day, because I know you're not going to the office every day; nobody is right? We've got the new work week now, which is two to three days at home, and—well, except for newspeople, we have to be in the studio, for the most part—but what would you say is your biggest challenge? When you wake up in the morning, you flip the switch either on your computer or you go in to the office?

Ken Hartwick
So, first of all, we are all going to the office, so.

Anita Sharma
What, you’re full time?

Ken Hartwick
Yes.

Anita Sharma
Five days a week?

Ken Hartwick
Well, anyone that I deal with? Yes.

Anita Sharma
Okay, no but that's fascinating, because every single person I've spoken to, has said that the work week has now changed. It's now a hybrid situation, maybe two to three days at home, in front of the computer, two days of work. So, OPG, everybody, there is five days a week at the office?

Ken Hartwick
We do have some hybrid for some people in the organization. But again, what I find is, the more complex the problem, the more the need it is to be in the office, because the more the need is for collaboration, teamwork. Very few problems at our place, probably like most companies here, you know, if there's one small slice of the company is dealing with it, it goes across everything, so more collaboration is required. But to me, the biggest problem, or thing to think about is actually a great one to have. So, we see the energy transition happening in front of us. And this is, how do you decarbonize, how do you build out new nuclear, new hydro, hydrogen—pick your energy source. But how do you build that out in a reliable way, to meet the climate goals that our country has, and that pretty much every country has, and how do you build that out, and so in a way hat’s a good problem. You know, for too long the industry's problem was there's nothing going on, so, maybe what do you do when you come in during the day? So, we're in the exact opposite place. And then it's a case of finding people that think differently, that have a different level of innovation, probably are younger in thought than what we're used to, to capture these opportunities, because someone will.

QUESTION & ANSWER

Anita Sharma
Okay, we're getting the cue that we are ready for some Q&A. Ken, thank you so much for that.

Ken Hartwick
Thank you.

Anita Sharma
I hope everyone gleaned something from the conversation there with Ken. So, I'm not being rude, I am looking at my phone, but I'm fully engaged with Ken and the audience here, but I'll be doing this from my phone. Now, one of them—I would like to remind you all that if you have a question, you can use a QR code that is in your brochure, that's in the pamphlet, to please submit your questions for Ken. You ready for the first one?

Ken Hartwick
Or you, the question could be for you, as well.

Anita Sharma
I’ll answer the questions on SMR’s. Okay. I'll ask you the first question here again. How do you reconcile with the fact that nuclear was specifically excluded from the quote unquote, “green bonds funding”? Why is there such stigma still attached to nuclear, given the safety record? Something you and I touched on, off the top.

Ken Hartwick
Yeah, I think on the federal green bond side, everybody makes a mistake, let's put it down to that. But there is a technical reason. So, I think a group of us have talked to financing, and again, the Canadian bonds, they want to go into an index, the bond indexes around the world. So, if the bond indexes around the world say nucleolar is excluded, Canada didn't want to start issuing bonds that would go not be excluded from indices, right? Bad for business. But I think they do acknowledge they probably could have done a, maybe put it someplace different than with tobacco, coal and whatever else was in there. But then I go to the budget, and the budget, again, was very constructive on nuclear. So, the federal ones, so it's one of those evolving things, and it'll I think it'll get fixed as the world continues to go nuclear.

Anita Sharma
Thank you for that question. It's an anonymous person, but we'll get to the second one from Shaw. How do you see the challenges of power distribution to support electrification generation would be needed to meet the requirements but how to distribute as the current infrastructure is not suitable? Also something we touched on.

Ken Hartwick
Yeah, this is something I think that's faced by all of the local distribution companies, you know, Toronto Hydro case but, you know, pick your LDC, is the infrastructure never envisioned everything being electrified. And the pace that it had to be reinvested in to modernize it, and to strengthen it wasn't envisioned. But I think most of the distribution companies now, I think have this in front of them, and they see it there. I think the real question is, will regulators be able to look at this and say it's a required investment, given the country's move towards electrification, or not? Because there's, I don't think anyone should expect a distribution company to invest in infrastructure that they won't get paid for. So, I think we're in a good place here with regulators as far as this being, that these things need to move in sync. But that goes to your point around, you know, if you want to have everybody have electric car tomorrow, that's not happening. It the system just won't work. But we have time to fix it.

Anita Sharma
How much time?

Ken Hartwick
Well, it's the LDC problem. So, I’d say it’s—I give them a shorter timeframe than what I normally would. But it’s probably a 10-year effort. Like realistically, by the time even the majority of people are driving electric cars, it’s probably 10 years out.

Anita Sharma
Okay. All right. Good to know. Thank you for that, Ken. The business case for OPG’s Ivy car charging network. Could you make it?

Ken Hartwick
Could I make it? Yeah. So, for those that don't know Ivy is a joint venture between us and Hydro One, that is right now electrifying, we’re putting chargers all along the ONroute stations, among a few others. And we'll look to expand that into other applications. Business case is really easy. It is, Federal Government said everyone's going to 30% of people are going to have electric car by 2026. They're going to drive somewhere, charge somewhere, and that somewhere should be at one of our charging stations—and obviously pay for the product, no different than paying for gas when you drive to a gas station. So, I like the business. I think we are at the front of something.

Anita Sharma
Are we talking superchargers? Or are superchargers are level 2—that’s a selfish question.

Ken Hartwick
It will continue to evolve.

Anita Sharma
Okay. This is another one—Ken, you and I were talking about offstage—considering the demand for nuclear will increase in developing countries, can Canada play the role of nuclear tech exporter?

Ken Hartwick
We are so well positioned for this. It is, I think it's a very well-kept secret across the across Canada, but our supply chain—and that is our engineering firms, our technical firms, our construction firms—we are so good at this. And whether it's a CANDU reactor that, you know, the big ones that Bruce and us operate, whether it's new small modular reactors, our supply chain is so well-positioned. And this is one where we need to take what's given to us on the world stage. And, you know, again, a big part of part of our conversation with the province has been around, let's get our supply chain a head start here. And then we don't need to help them much more. They're very, very good. And then, so I think you'll see us playing a role around the world on the nuclear stage. It may not be OPG, it may be members of our supply chain, and engineering firms, but it's going to be something that we should be a leader in this. And that should be clear over the course of the next couple of years.

Anita Sharma
I'm really happy this next question came up, because I didn't get an opportunity to ask you during our chat. But we were, again, off-air or offstage, talking about the situation of the project in Niagara Falls. And in that vein, you have a question on how you see hydrogen, the economy in Ontario, rolling out over the next three to five years. Maybe you could touch on the Niagara situation, too, as part of that.

Ken Hartwick
Yes. So, I think the Province put out their clean fuel hydrogen strategy last week, which was good. Part of that is things, I'll talk about it, Niagara Bruce Power is doing up at their location as well. But I think it, to me, it's just one more form of clean fuel that is going to form part of energy transition. And, you know, I think right now, the two big applications for hydrogen are heavy trucking, which I think people see as one of the one of the primary ones, and then industry, as far as the use of hydrogen. Then it gets into how do you make the fuel in a manner that produces less carbon than what you're displacing? So, we sort of look and say, our hydroelectric facilities, we can probably make it pretty effectively, blend it into gas plants; Bruce is looking at how do you make it out of a nuclear plant—again, no carbon emissions—and then utilize it to decarbonize other sectors within the economy. So, I think it's the very early stage. And for those that have followed hydrogen, it's been the, “next fuel,” that is ready to go for the last 20 years, and never has. But I think the time is here now, and that's why I think we're going to make the investments we're going to make. And I think the Province put out the plan that they did, to try to accelerate this for this energy transition.

Anita Sharma
I think you're absolutely right. I started covering business news, I’m aging myself, about 20 years ago. We were talking about hydrogen being the next big thing, even back then. What are your thoughts—and we discussed this as well, but maybe you want to flesh this out a bit more, and this is the next question—what are your thoughts on wind, and solar, and its involvement in the solution hitting the targets, right, by 2040, for you?

Ken Hartwick
Yes. So, I think for wind and solar, we need every technology. You need hydrogen, you need nuclear, hydroelectric, you need wind, you need solar. So, every technology is required for, I think, us to hit our electrification targets. I think I would put sort of two caveats on the wind and solar side. One is, we have to be very, very careful about the critical minerals that are required. Do they exist in a quantity that would allow—because we're not the only ones thinking about this; every country in the world is—and do the critical minerals exist? Which they don't. To actually, if you added up everyone's targets for solar and wind, there's not enough minerals being mined.

Anita Sharma
So, what do you do?

Ken Hartwick
You have to have a critical mineral strategy. Which, you know, ring of fire we talk about in the province, elsewhere in the country. So, you know, that needs to be accelerated, here, and then around the world. I think the second part on wind and solar, and this is important, we get asked a lot about, you know, nuclear has waste. So does solar. And I think we need to start, as a country, start to think around, if you're going to use solar, how do you do it in environmentally responsible way? The un-environmental way is to mine it in countries that have poor environmental standards, you dump it all down the river, the stuff you don't need, refine it in un-environmentally friendly countries, and make the panels there, then ship them over in a box that then is claimed to be green. We’ve got to stop that. We have to do it the same way nuclear does. We know where every bit of our waste is, every by-product, we know where it is, we manage it incredibly well. And every technology needs to do the same thing.

Anita Sharma
Do you think, since the pandemic, and then the situation that's been exacerbated, you know, as far as energy goes, the situation with the Russian invasion in Ukraine, do you think a lot of folks are now looking at ESG and saying, wait a second, what exactly does this really mean, at the end of the day? You talked, I believe, about some of these funds, where they're sourcing some of their quote unquote, “ESG friendly” commodities and whatnot. What are what are your thoughts there?

Ken Hartwick
Yeah, I put this on sort of the investment community. So, there's the convenient ESG people, which really don't care as long as it's tagged green. And then I think there's a more environmentally responsible ones that are looking say, where is it done, how is it done, who is it done with? And I think that, right now, virtually anything can be ESG, without paying any attention to it. But again, the hope is that this matures a little bit. And everyone, I think, has to recognize, if you really were to produce a nuclear plant or solar facility with proper ESG, it's going to cost a bit more. But that should be the price we're willing to pay for doing something right. Otherwise, you're just a convenient environmentalist. And the world has enough of those. I think we need to be environmentalist.

Anita Sharma
Okay. Back to nuclear, question from Lisa. Are you concerned about regulatory delays in the deployment of SMR’s in Canada? Why do you think the delays are there? Is the public appetite perhaps not as rich as it should be for SMR’s, given all the factors that we've discussed here on the stage today?

Ken Hartwick
I'm not delayed for our project, or worried about our project at all.

Anita Sharma
Okay.

Ken Hartwick
So I think a lot of times we point to regulators as an excuse. You know, we won't have a regulatory delay on our project, if we submit, you know, applications properly. If we do the work, then there won't be a delay. I think the one element of this for someone trying to build nuclear for the first time, so, say in Saskatchewan, you do have to reconcile the technical regulator with the Minister of the Environment, or environment at the federal level; can you actually get an EEA, or not? And that could be a delay. If you sort of say I want, on one hand, I want to build nuclear, i.e., with what the feds had said. On the other hand, my EEA process is going to be so difficult, it can never actually do it. That applies to critical minerals mining as well. If you want to say I want to build a platinum mine, but my EEA will never let me build a mine, you don't do that either. But these things, I think, are getting closer to now to being in sync. And so, I think, just requires a little bit of diligence by all of us.

Anita Sharma
Well, what's it like—so the nuclear industry sees SMR as the way of the future, as far as continuing with the industry, right? What's the lifespan of an SMR? Because you did say earlier that winding down the SMR’s is still, by no stretch of the imagination, an easy task, if in fact, you have to do that, or when you have to do that.

Ken Hartwick
So, yeah, no, I think on both our Darlington unit and the Bruce Power units, we're refurbishing them for another 30, 35 years of life.

Anita Sharma
Okay.

Ken Hartwick
For the SMR we'll build out a Darlington, same type of lifespan. Yeah, the comment was really, I think, coming back to what the Germans when they decommissioned some of their stations.

Anita Sharma
Right.

Ken Hartwick
Depending on how they decommissioned, to restart those, that's a big undertaking to do. And that's where some of the countries, I think, that were looking to slow down their nuclear programs, are now thinking the other direction, which I think is a positive for the industry.

Anita Sharma
Okay. Do you see an opportunity for nuclear generation smaller than SMR’s, i.e. micro reactors?

Ken Hartwick
Yes. So, I think there's a few projects going on along that line right now. We have one going, Bruce Power has one going, and these are very, like these are one megawatt, five megawatt, like very very small. Would be, I think, applicable for mining sites, like to power; for some remote communities where you just can't connect to the grid, you're using diesel right now; for the oil sands type of process. So, yeah, it's here, that technology is going along in parallel with our SMR technology. And, the US, I think, is very well advanced in the micro reactor side. I think the issue on the micro side is, it's one thing to have a plant where someone like us is managing it, I think we'll get communities comfortable with that. It's a different thing to have a small micro reactor—it sounds bad when you say quick—in the middle of a community where there's nobody there, like to manage it. So, I think the acceptance of these is going to take a lot more work, including with our Indigenous communities, to feel comfortable that it's safe.

Ken Hartwick
Could you give us an idea of right now, with respect to the Indigenous communities, just where you are right now, in those discussions? Is it really just the NIMBY right now, is it the not in my backyard, just a lot of fear over what this all entails, and what potentially the hazards could be?

Ken Hartwick
Yeah, so, I'll contrast it to the Williams Treaty Group, which is out by where we're going to build the Darlington Small Modular Reactor. There's a council, they’re Indigenous partners on this one, and actually, NIMBY is not one of the issues. It is really, how are we going to respect the environment, as we look to build a reactor?

Anita Sharma
Okay.

Ken Hartwick
And what I find is, we often think we're there to educate the Indigenous people. Our team, I think, has done a great job of no, the education is the other direction. They are educating us on how to do this in an environmentally responsible way, respecting the land, the birds, the fish, all the stuff around it. But it did require us to step back and go, lets us try to learn versus us trying to teach. And that conversation has been going very, very well since we started to listen more and talk less.

Anita Sharma
Well, I'd like to think our conversation went really well, as did the questions.

Ken Hartwick
Yes, thank you.

Anita Sharma
Ken, it’s always great to see you. Look, I know i's a huge topic of discussion. And I hope, I know for the folks here, maybe some of the questions were a bit basic maybe, I don't know, but for viewers, I understand this is going to be put online for the general electorate, if you will, or the public. I'm sure there's something in there for them to glean. Ken, thank you so much.

Ken Hartwick
Good. Thank you.

Kelly Jackson
Thank you very much, Ken and Anita. I'd now like to take the opportunity to invite Jean-Louis Servranckx, President and CEO of Aecon Group, Inc. to deliver some appreciation remarks. Jean-Louis.

Note of Appreciation by Jean-Louis Servranckx, President & CEO, Aecon Group, Inc.
Thank you. James, I’m not as good as you, I have a few notes. I'm pleased to be here representing Aecon. We are proud to be a lead sponsor of today's event, and quite honoured to be a partner of OPG, and Bruce Power. I’d like to sincerely thank you, Ken, for taking the time to speak this afternoon, and sharing your insight with us. For the whole industry, OPG is a real catalyst for a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. Ken, you at OPG induce us as an industry every day to raise the bar; thank you for this. As we continue to safely execute the Darlington Refurbishment Program, which is Canada's largest clean energy project, it is clear that our values continue to align closely. Aecon, as a construction company, has also adopted one of the most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction programs in the industry. We are committed to a 30% reduction by 2030, and net-zero by 2050. As you told me one day, it was one year and-a-half ago, you told me a very clear idea about 2030. I have to admit that, for 2050, I'm not that sure there are very clear ideas, but I think we're all together, we'll find the right idea to implement while running. Aecon will be publishing its third-annual sustainability report later this month on Earth Day, further illustrating how we are integrating sustainability into our business strategy. There is a huge opportunity in sustainable infrastructure. Aecon is an infrastructure company. It was extremely encouraging to hear how OPG is like-minded in leveraging innovation, as well as new methods and technologies throughout its operations. Aecon is supporting OPG and GE Hitachi in these efforts through the SMR project you have been discussing about, and we're excited to finalize ongoing discussions about our role and partnerships, to make OPGs Darlington new nuclear project a success.

Amid rising demand for electricity in January, Aecon was also pleased to see OPG announced they are investigating future hydroelectric dams in Northern Ontario, another area of expertise for our company. Aecon, and OPG are also very closely aligned when it comes to the social element of sustainability; as you mentioned, it's not only the E within ESG. At Aecon, we have a long history of successfully working with Indigenous communities across Canada, providing sustainable business and employment opportunities. We are honoured to have today at Aecon’s table Matt Jamieson, representing the Six Nations of the Grand River, with whom we have an extremely fast-growing joint venture. I think Matt, we are nearing, we are at a few millimetres to have more than 100 employees in the joint venture.

We are also creating our Indigenous Reconciliation Action Plan and are proud to champion innovative programs like the Aecon Woman in Trades, and Aecon Diversity in the Trades, to lead the way in diversifying our industry. Once again, OPG, you lead the way, thank you. In conclusion, we are proud of our long-standing partnership. And together with OPG, we are encouraged by the robust opportunities that will come from the transition to a net-zero carbon economy. Thanks, Ken, to be, through your proactive leadership, a catalyst for the whole industry. Thank you everyone for being here this afternoon. And thank you to the Empire Club for hosting this event.

Concluding Remarks by Kelly Jackson
Thank you, Jean-Louis, and thanks again to Aecon and all of our sponsors for their support. Thank you again, Ken, and Anita, and thank you to all of you for joining us here today. As a club of record, all Empire Club of Canada events are available to watch and listen on-demand on our website. The recording of the event from today will be available shortly, and everybody registered will receive an email with the link to it. Please feel free to share this important conversation with your friends, family networks etc.

We are going to be back here again at Arcadian Court in just two days. On Wednesday, April 13th, we host our next event. We are going to hear from Ontario's Minister of Finance, the Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy, on “the Work Underway to Make Ontario's Economy Stronger.” In-person tickets are sold out, but you can register for free to watch the event, at approximately 12:30pm online. On Wednesday, April 20th, you can also tune in for a virtual lunchtime event to hear from Interac CEO Mark O'Connell on “The Opportunities and Challenges Ahead for Canada's Digital Economy.” Registration for both of these events can be done at empireclubofcanada.com. Thank you so much for joining us today. Please feel free to stay, chat, network the room will be open for a while. And I really want to wish you a rest of a great day. Stay safe and take care.

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How OPG is Paving the Way for Ontario and Other Jurisdictions to Decarbonize


11 April, 2022 How OPG is Paving the Way for Ontario and Other Jurisdictions to Decarbonize