Learn how Bruce Power’s clean energy infrastructure can provide the backbone of Ontario’s clean energy future, and how their innovation can play a role in Ontario’s economic recovery post-pandemic.
Audio: (Silence). Shouldn't he be playing basketball? Stick to basketball. Do they even have ice in China? Women's hockey is just boring, okay? Who wants to watch girls play? Go back to where you belong. Go back where we belong? This is where we belong.
Jan De Silva: (Silence). Good morning everyone. I'm Jan De Silva, president and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade. Welcome to today's webcast, Powering Ontario Forward. Presented in partnership with Bruce Power. Today's discussion will explore the role of clean energy in Ontario's future. We'll be investigating how vital nuclear power is for combating climate change and how Bruce Power has been so essential in champion nuclear for the province. When we talk about the future of energy, we must also reflect on the past, including the history of this land. Toronto is home to diverse First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples. And the board's offices are located on the traditional territory of many indigenous nations.
Reconciliation plays an important role in conversations we have about our energy and climate future. A few opening notes for today's event. A recording of today's event will be available at supportbusiness.com under webinars and videos. Select click here to switch stream if your video is lagging or request help for any other technical issues. All the board's webcasts are supported by our principal sponsors, The Globe and Mail, Scotiabank, SNC-Lavalin, and the University of Toronto. I want to thank Bruce Power for helping us build today's discussion, Powering Ontario Forward. As we all know, Canada has ambitious plans to reduce its carbon emissions. Last year's federal budget reaffirmed our nation's commitment to cut our 2005 emissions nearly in half by 2030. The Canadian Net-Zero's Emissions Accountability Act became law last summer legislating Canada's commitment to achieve net-zero by 2050.
Ontario's energy today is 94% emission free, thanks in large part to Bruce Power producing over 30% of our energy. Bruce is also leader in developing innovative solutions to further support our emission reduction targets. For Canada to reach its environmental goals, we need to rely on nuclear power. Nuclear doesn't emit any greenhouse gases during its operation, and unlike other forms of clean energy, it provides the abundance of electricity we need for our homes and industries. That doesn't mean we don't support wind and solar, rather we need nuclear power now so that we can safely meet our ambitious emission targets while we give other forms of clean energy more time to develop.
Currently, wind and solar provide only 2% of Canada's total power generation. Their underlying technology has grown by leaps and bounds, and we remember a time when 2% seemed like a distant dream. But this technology has yet to mature enough to bear the burden of our energy needs. Canada and the province is uniquely positioned to take advantage of nuclear in this way, we have an abundant supply of uranium and a strong track record of leading research and commercialization of nuclear technology. And so, that brings us to today's event and our experts we have convened to share more details.
First, we'll hear from the Hon. Todd Smith, Ontario's minister of energy. The minister is a veteran politician first elected to Ontario's parliament in 2011. We have worked closely with Minister Smith in a number of his cabinet positions as minister of economic development, minister of children, community and social services, and now as energy minister where he's overseeing the introduction of a new green button standard to provide more transparency for energy users and announce Canada's first grid scale small nuclear reactor. Minister Smith, welcome back. We love having you at the podium here at the Board of Trade. Let me turn things over to you for your remarks.
Hon. Todd Smith: Well, thanks very much Jan. Good morning everyone. It's great to be with you on a beautiful day here in Ontario, and specifically in downtown Toronto. It's great to be back virtually with the Toronto Region Board of Trade as well. And I've had some great conversations with many of your members, including during my recent meeting with the energy transition policy committee. And that was back in November. Also great to see some familiar faces from Bruce Power, including Mike Rencheck, our guest of honor here this morning. And it's a real pleasure to be here today to recognize your active role Mike in our provinces, clean energy system, and talk a little bit more about Ontario's nuclear advantage, which really is Canada's nuclear advantage.
I first want to acknowledge your team's efforts in our fight against COVID-19 for the past two years, including generous donations of PPE and ongoing support for vaccination in communities right across Ontario, protecting the health and well being of Ontarians continues to be our government's top priority. And we're grateful to Bruce Power for playing an active role in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and helping to ensure the province can restart the economy safely, which we have been able to do over the last couple of weeks and continue to do over the next month or so. I'd also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Bruce Power on a number of key milestones that they've achieved recently. And this includes increasing the peak power output for your site, completing a Cobalt-60 isotope harvest at the beginning of this year as well, which is so important and a spinoff of our nuclear advantage here in Ontario, as well as the installation of a groundbreaking isotope production system to make Bruce Unit 7 the first power reactor in the world capable of producing Lutetium-177 and making Ontario a Lutetium leader as well.
In fact, this past fall, I addressed isotope trade missions from Europe and the United States, and was proud to highlight Ontario's prominence when it comes to nuclear medicine. And Bruce has been leading the way on that. Bruce Power has also achieved another historic milestone when it successfully issued the first ever nuclear green bonds. It's a recognition of nuclear energy's role in combating climate change, and it was made possible by Bruce Power's leadership on net-zero initiatives. And of course, I need to acknowledge your work on nuclear refurbishment. And keep up that good work Mike, it's very important that that good work continues. I'm following closely the Unit 6 major component replacement, the MCR Project closely. And the successful replacement of the eight massive steam generators at the end of last year, it's really a prime example of the hard work by Bruce Power and your partners to keep that project on track despite the challenges of the pandemic over the last couple of years.
2022 is going to be the most ambitious year yet for our refurbishment program with multiple units being refurbished at Bruce and also over at OPG's Darlington site. And preparations are in full swing to commence additional units in the next year. It really is the biggest energy infrastructure renewal in our province's history and requires innovation and collaboration. And you do such a great job at Bruce working with OPG. And really pleased to see that ongoing collaboration between Bruce and Ontario Power Generation for this successful execution of all of these projects. And all of this creates jobs. It supports our province wide supply chain and provides clean, reliable, and affordable power for Ontario homes and businesses for many years to come. Beyond the facts and figures, it's the human impact of Bruce Power that really is most remarkable.
You make a true difference in people's lives, particularly over there in Kincardine and Port Elgin and those beautiful communities on Lake Huron. And to that end, I just want to commend you for being named one of Canada's top employers for young people for the 11th straight year. And through words and deeds, you're shaping the future of our workforce in Ontario's energy sector, one that's strong, diverse, and one that's also resilient. And as a prime example, I was really pleased to join you, Mike, last October and mark your partnership with Makwa-Cahill and sound the first indigenous nuclear qualified fabrication shop in Ontario. And want to recognize the launch of an engineering internship program for women as well through your partnership with Ontario Tech University.
And in closing, my ministry is really committed to working together with your team, Mike at Bruce Power, to ensure that Ontario continues to have that safe and reliable and affordable energy system. And I hope you'll continue to share new opportunities, to work together, to grow our economy, and build our energy future. And to everybody on the line here today, just have a pleasant day. Enjoy Mike's expertise when it comes to Ontario's nuclear advantage. And Jan, thanks for having me. And I hope everybody has a great session with you this morning.
Jan De Silva: Minister, thanks so much. You bring a tremendous amount of energy to the energy ministry. And thanks so much for your remarks. Look, I don't know that he needs any further introduction after that. Great series of remarks by the minister. But let me turn things over to a great partner of the board, no stranger to our podium, president and CEO of Bruce Power, Mike Rencheck. Prior to joining Bruce Power in 2016, Mike served in several high profile roles in the energy leader, including a CEO of Riva Inc, where he led its nuclear manufacturing business. In addition to being an effective energy guru at Energy Executive, in 2014, Mike was recognized by the National Safety Council for his personal commitment to worker safety. He's been deemed a CEO who gets it.
And as you could hear from the minister, he gets it on so many fronts. What he's doing to spur economic development in the community around Bruce Power is incredible. And what he's doing to power our province as well is absolutely incredible. Following Mike's remarks, he'll be asked some questions by Jacquie Hoornweg, a formal journalist and inaugural executive director of the Brilliant Energy Institute at Ontario Tech University. An exciting new initiative that was launched in November 2021. Mike, always great to have you here over to you my friend.
Mike Rencheck: Jan, thanks so much for that introduction. I very much appreciate it. And minister, thank you for your introduction today. We can't do the things that we do here at Bruce Power or in our industry without stable policy. And the fact that we have stable policy enables us to plan for the long term and really look at not just generating electricity but venturing in the medical isotopes, helping the economy recover, and looking at social issues both far away from our area as well as in our area. So, I just wanted to say thank you for everything that you do, as Jan said, the energy you bring to the energy ministry. Next slide, please. Here at Bruce Power, I'm very happy to go over our 2021 annual review and energy report with you. And quite a few years ago now, I think 2019, is we decided to take a look forward in our company and really look at what we were doing here and what our mission was.
So, we changed the vision of our company to power the future. And our mission is to safely provide clean, reliable, and affordable electricity, lifesaving medical isotopes, to strengthen our communities, to protect the environment, and secure tomorrow. So when you hear that and you see that, that's why we talk about powering Ontario forward. We're looking to a better future, a brighter future. We're looking to do that through clean energy, through reaching new forms of generation, lifesaving medical isotopes, and really helping Ontario grow and prosper. Not only here in great Bruce and Huron counties and rural Ontario, but all throughout Ontario and all throughout Canada. And we think we can make a big impact in what we do.
Here at Ontario, we really do have an advantage. Next slide, please. It comes down to how we generate our electricity. You see in Ontario, about 60% of our electricity comes from nuclear, about 25% from hydro, about 9% from wind and solar, backed up by about 9% from gas, and about 0.3% from biofuel. And when you look at the cost of that, hydroelectricity is about 5.80 cents per kilowatt, nuclear boost power we're about 7.85 cents, we have biofuel at about 26 cents, natural gas is about 12.50 cents, wind is about 15.40 cents, and solar is over 49 cents kWh. So when you look at our grid, our baseload energy comes from very low cost source of nuclear and hydroelectricity. This does a meaningful impact in creating a clean energy advantage here in Ontario.
Next slide, please. You see, we've had quite a success story with this over the years. And you go back to around the 2005 timeframe, we had roughly 53 smog days on average every summer in Toronto. Through our efforts here at Bruce Power to restart our reactors and also the addition of wind and solar, we've been able to reduce those emission days down to zero in 2014. So think about that. If you have asthma, you can go outside in the summertime now and not really worry about smog. We have very little emissions in our province and it's been done predominantly through nuclear. Here at Bruce Power, we supplied about 70% of the energy necessary to eliminate coal in our province. That's had even broader effects.
Next slide, please. When you look at Ontario's competitive advantage, especially in the area of clean energy, when you look around the world, you hear names like Germany, California as leaders in clean energy. When you look at the energy electricity consumption in Germany, it's around 300 grams, 350 grams equivalent of CO2 per kWh. While deep decarbonization is below 50 grams equivalent of CO2 per kWh. You have California sitting at around 150 grams equivalent per kWh. And here we are in Ontario at about 35 grams equivalent of CO2 per kWh. Yeah, so what that means is we have a deeply decarbonized electric sector here in Ontario predominantly from nuclear energy and hydro power, providing clean, reliable, and affordable baseload power 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Supplemented by solar and wind for peak times and times when they're able to operate.
Now, when you look at the cost of doing that, Germany has moved in a direction that's predominantly using renewables backed up by fossil fuels. And you can see their costs for their grid is about 47 cents per kWh. So, quite expensive. California has chosen a similar path using renewables backed up by fossil fuels, or in some cases batteries. And they're at about 30 cents per kWh. And here in Ontario, we've been able to deeply decarbonize our grid already at around 13.50 cents a kWh. Think about that. We're already decarbonized. And by doing that, we offer our industry now a competitive advantage in the world in that our electricity can be used and claimed by our industries as being able to have clean energy. And I think with the announcement, with the clean energy credits coming forward, it was announced by the energy minister a few days ago, I think this really provides us with a large pathway for our companies in Ontario to take this forward as a competitive advantage throughout the world. It's an exciting time for us.
Next slide, please. You see, when we look at a clean energy future, we think we're really starting to really make progress and advance our advantage going forward. As the minister talked about, we're renewing our assets here at Bruce Power. We'll be able to operate our nuclear units all the way off to 2064. And I think that's been recognized now by the financial industry. And most importantly, in the fact that we were able to raise $500 million of financing through a green energy bond. It's really the global first for nuclear energy, where we had 57 different investors and we were over six times subscribed for the bond issuance. I think that bodes well for being recognized by the financial community for the type of impact we can have, not only in an energy forefront but in the medical forefront as well as creating good jobs and a robust economy in an area.
Bruce Power has made a lot of commitments to move forward with clean energy. We've announced that we'll be a net-zero company by 2027. We've even created Bruce Power Net Zero Inc. to be able to help develop complimentary technologies to nuclear such that we can really advance into the future with many different options to be able to supply electricity within the province. We've done a number of items to create new opportunities here in the province. We have memorandum of understanding with west area to look at charging stations, to develop carbon offset. We have a carbon offset coalition created. We're looking at new nuclear by partnering with Ontario Power Generation on small modular reactors as well as our own micro reactor and other forms. We've done a number of hydrogen studies about how our assets can fit in to a broader future with clean energy through hydrogen.
Next slide please. But most importantly, it all pivots around our assets here at site. And as the energy minister said, last fall we made an announcement. You see, when we started our renewal process in 2016, our site was nameplated at 6,300 MW. So since that time, we're now nameplated at 6,550 MW. We've added about 250 MW of energy and electricity here at our site. That's enough to power 250,000 homes. And we've announced Project 2030 that we're working on the increase of our site capacity to be over 7,000 MW. That's the equivalent of adding a new reactor here at the site. So we see a clean energy future for Ontario, being able to support our industries here with clean energy, and being able to power the future with a stable, clean, reliable, and affordable energy source.
Next slide, please. That energy source can also be used to save lives. We often say we save lives here every day at Bruce Power. And right now we do that through Cobalt-60, where we make enough isotopes to sterilize about 40% of the once used medical devices around the world. We also make Cobalt-60 that is used to treat forms of cancer like brains tumors and breast cancer. But more importantly, we're expanding. And that's what we call about securing tomorrow. We want to see healthy people. We want to be able to influence that around the world. And with our scale of production, we're able to make isotopes in a form and a quantity where we can have cancer treatments available and affordable to the world, like we do with Cobalt-60.
We just installed a brand new isotope production system in our Unit 7. And it's going through its final test runs. And this summer we hope to start making Lutetium-177, which is a therapeutic isotope that's used to treat prostate cancer and neuroendocrine tumors. But also it's part of an evolving form of cancer research being done by Dr. Wong at the University Health Network called Theranostics, where effectively it can be used to do diagnostics and cancer treatments at the same time. So, it'll be quite a breakthrough. And we're just getting started with that. Can you show the video, Zishan?
Audio: You hear about these stories, but you never think it'll be your own. I had no idea how my brain tumor could be treated. I was overwhelmed and worried, not just for me but for the ones I love. I talked to my cancer care team and found out more about medical isotopes and the treatment options available. I knew I could beat this. You hear about these stories and you hope that it will be yours.
Mike Rencheck: Next slide, please. But we can't just stop there. We need to create opportunities for everyone. We put quite a focus into economic recovery and growth before the pandemic. And as the pandemic starts to ease here and we get back to something that looks more like an environment that we're used to, we want to be able to help people recover and power through that. We do business with about 480 different companies throughout Ontario, and they do business with hundreds of other companies. We announced roughly a $3 billion program through 2022 on our Life-Extension to go out for new purchase orders for equipment and products that are made right here in Ontario.
About 95% of that investment will stay here in Ontario. About 98% stays in Canada. And while we're doing that, it's all under the guise that we're running Canada's largest private sector infrastructure program, where we're investing about $13 billion. That creates 22,000 direct and indirect jobs each year. It adds about 4 billion in GDP to Ontario and around 8 to 11 billion in GDP to Canada. And we're not stopping there. We're looking at advancing the future of nuclear to how we can participate in the generation of hydrogen, storage of energy, new nuclear, and advancing the power output of our reactors, because I like to say, we're just getting started in this vein.
Next slide, please. We've done a lot in our areas here in Bruce and Huron county, throughout Ontario, throughout Canada, to support the fight against COVID-19. I know many of us are fatigued from it, but we can't give up the fight. We need to carry on. At Bruce Power, we've donated PPE. We've added money into food banks, shop local initiatives, mental health, physical health efforts. Quite frankly, we've been a major supporter of the Hockey Hub and helping set those up around the province to assure easier access for vaccines. See, what we like to say is we want to create a strong community. And we do that by not only looking after our energy needs and our isotopes and the things here at the site, but really reaching out to ensure that our communities can stay functional, stay viable. It's been really part of our mission statement and it would really come to beer as part of our COVID-19 response.
Last, next slide please. So in concluding, I just want to say we're really looking at what are the possibilities. We can create new possibilities for many people. We have a major effort going on in diversity, equity, and inclusion. And it just didn't start during the pandemic. We started this in 2016 to really broaden opportunity for everyone in Ontario, everyone in Canada, and particularly our communities that live around the plant. We think we can make many more new isotopes and really look after healthcare. We can help the energy transition through not only clean nuclear power but complimentary technologies and moving into hydrogen. These are exciting times for our industry. It's exciting times for Bruce Power, and we're just getting started. Thank you very much.
Audio: Bruce Power has played an important role in the province's fight against COVID-19. Now, we're advancing a five pillar made in Ontario economic recovery strategy, investing $3 billion over the next 18 months to recharge our economy, maintaining Ontario's global leadership in medical isotope production to treat cancer and sterilize medical equipment, advancing initiatives to remove an offset carbon emissions and contributing to a net-zero Canada, supporting 22,000 jobs with a strong Ontario base supply chain, defeating climate change and deadly disease through nuclear innovation. The future of clean energy starts right here, Powering Ontario Forward.
Mike Rencheck: Now, I'll turn it over to Jacquie.
Jacquie Hoornwe...: Thank you so much Mike. So I think Mike wanted to take a little bit of a break of talking and asked me to introduce myself and also to tell you a little bit about the Brilliant Energy Institute. And so, as Jan said, I was a former journalist, but true confessions, that was probably just over 20 years ago. And since that time I have been working in the energy industry. And for those of you who work in the energy industry that are on the call today, you probably are familiar with my face. And it's great to be here with you. It's also great to be at the Brilliant Energy Institute, which is of course part of Ontario Tech University. And Mike did ask me to talk a little bit about what Brilliant Energy Institute is. And that's partly because we are brand new.
I joined in November, 2021 as the executive director and as the first executive director. And so, we are just getting started. But we are building on a lot of things that have been going on almost for about 20 years at Ontario Tech. And so, just the campus itself has geothermal, all kinds of energy systems within it. It's built on clean energy technology, like the geothermal, like solar, like wind, and other innovative energy systems. Ontario Tech has a dedicated nuclear engineering undergraduate program as well as energy system programs in research, an SMR center, the first Canadian IAEA, which is the International Atomic Energy Agency Collaborating Center, as well as a ton of the world leading researchers in energy research.
Ontario Tech also has a clean energy research lab where hydrogen production research has been underway for about 15 years. Some of the work there is done at Ontario Tech. It also has an automotive engineering program, which has been really valuable in terms of the synergy between energy and civil infrastructure, including electrification. So, where BI comes in is really to build on all of this and to be a change agent for decarbonization here in Canada and internationally and to meet net-zero by 2050. So this includes three things really. It's technology development and the integration of technology. So for example, with nuclear, it's taking the power of nuclear and integrating it into other energy systems and connecting energy with that civil infrastructure in transportation and buildings.
Our second goal is to get and share data and information that strengthens informed policy and energy literacy. And third, we work with others like Bruce Power, other communities, organizations in government, industry, academia, as well as with communities like indigenous communities, local communities, and communities with an interest in this area, in development of this area to really strengthen what we already have here in Ontario, that Mike has just been talking about, and take that Pan-Canadian and internationally.
So I know that BI shares this commitment toward net-zero with Bruce Power, which is why I'm really excited to be here with you today, Mike, and to talk about the things that are going on at Bruce Power. And I just on social media yesterday, I was saying there's just so much to learn from Bruce Power because you are a company that never sits still. I think that I know what you're doing and I see this plan you've got. And then all of a sudden, yet again another announcement. And so, I'm really looking forward to you telling us more. You talked in your presentation about your goals related to net-zero 2030, 2050, and helping the country move there. And you talked about things like the green bonds and new technologies. So, maybe you can spend a few minutes unpacking some of that.
Mike Rencheck: Yeah, we could talk for hours on this. But it's really in theme with what our vision and mission is. We want to create possibilities. We want to create opportunities for people. And we look at Bruce Power, we need to lead by doing not by saying. So, we first talked about coming out with that zero by 2027. It turned a lot of heads internally here. It's like, "How can we do that?" People are talking 2030, 2050. It's like, well, we need to lead by example. And we can do that by creating opportunities for innovators, for new companies to come in with technology and being able to compliment nuclear technology. Particularly, we're quite interested in working with the farming communities in the area to create carbon offsets. We've the LDCs for charging stations as we convert over to EVs to make sure that we have a tourism platform here in rural Ontario where tourists who drive EVs can visit the area and be able to charge their cars.
We've also looked at entrepreneurship where we can work with different entities who have ideas about how they might create or reduce carbon emissions. And then we will work with them and fund that. We have a $1 million expression of interest outstanding now to see if we can get people or innovators that come in and want to start looking at how they improve their businesses, create offsets. And then we'll look at the emissions credits from our side. But we have a lot of things in motion along that line, but it's complimentary technologies that we're also interested in, like battery storage. We're working with different companies in our store to see how that might fit in with nuclear.
Pumped hydro. We're working with TC Energy for the Ontario pumped hydro project here in our area. It's a great machine. It's a great compliment. And it really is the holy grill of storage where you're looking for more than two to four hours of storage but long term storage like eight hours or so, where we can actually power a day if the intermittent sources aren't working that day. So, just really an exciting time to create opportunities for people, for companies, and for technologies while keeping electric rates affordable.
Jacquie Hoornwe...: In addition to that work for Canada and for Ontario, you're also doing that as a company. And I think it's 2027 is your goal for net-zero at Bruce Power. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Mike Rencheck: Yeah, like I said, we want to lead by example. So, we'll be a net-zero company by 2027. We're looking at our vehicles, our fleet operations. We're looking at how we heat our facilities. We'll do that also through operating our reactors and generating more clean energy. And then through these offset programs, we'll get down to net-zero as a company. Yeah, it's an ambitious goal, but it's one I think, if we're going to talk about clean energy, we have to lead by example. So, we want to do this. We want to be on the forefront to show that it can be done. And there are pathways to getting there that are affordable and implementable in the near term, right?
Jacquie Hoornwe...: Yeah. And the other thing, what I've noticed with Bruce Power is, so you're very much focused on nuclear. But nuclear to be part of getting to net-zero, it has to get buy-in. And part of that buy-in for nuclear really is about performance. And I know that you've done a lot of work in this in terms of working with supply chain and looking at how you can address costs, schedule, make sure that your projects come in, are well executed. And I know that these are words. But underneath the surface of that, there are a lot of initiatives you've taken to really strengthen performance. And including what you talked about in the presentation with respect to bringing extra megawatts online within the existing assets. Can you just tell us a little bit about that partnership with supply chain and how you've done some of that performance work?
Mike Rencheck: Oh yeah. So, it's all about collaboration and partnerships. And that starts with people. We have a purpose here at Bruce Power. We want to power the future. We want to strengthen our communities, right? We want to protect the environment. We want to build a better future. So when you start off with that as the mission, it's easier to get alignment of other entities. They see that as adding social value in the context of not only Ontario but Canada. You see, nuclear is a made in Canada business. We're made in Ontario business. We don't import a whole lot of anything to run our facilities. We make it right here. So, my hat goes off to all of our unions, the Power Workers Unions, the United Society of Professionals, United Steelworkers, the Building Trades Unions that come here and help make those products for us and operate our facilities each and every day.
And then our supply chain, the cooperation and collaboration in the industry. We call them competimates. Sometimes they're competing and sometimes they're working together because we need to work together to achieve a better outcome. And it's that concept I think as we got into the pandemic really was anchored. There's any one thing we've learned in the pandemic is that we have to work together to get through this. And I think our industry started on that journey in 2016 and it's gotten stronger every year. And we see the innovations coming out now. We see the partnerships, not only within the nuclear industry but outside the nuclear industry. And it's branching now into the medical communities. And I think when we all work together, we can do great things. And as Canadians, it's powerful that this is a Canadian industry. And we should be proud of that. We should be proud of the benefit, not only that we have here in Ontario and throughout Canada but what we add to the world in terms of healthcare and medical isotopes, and also that nuclear technology where we're able to support others with their clean energy journey.
Jacquie Hoornwe...: Yeah. And I think certainly in Ontario, there's been recognition by government, and certainly we heard it in Minister Smith's remarks, about the value of nuclear in the energy system and in addressing things like climate change, the need that we're going to have for significantly more low carbon electricity to meet the climate change goals and to ensure sustainability and meeting some of those key sustainable development goals around quality of life and prosperity and driving the economy. And you and I were talking just before the show a little bit about the value of Ontario, what we have here in terms of competitive advantage internationally, both for the industry, but also just for the economy generally. And maybe you can talk a little bit about that.
Mike Rencheck: Yeah. Here in Ontario, we have a competitive advantage with electricity that is already deeply decarbonized. So, you can literally plug into our electric grid anywhere in Ontario and you're getting clean energy. Yeah, others cannot make that statement, and you hear a lot or read a lot now about greenwashing in other parts of the world. But here in Ontario, we have this advantage. We've been able to do it at around 13.50 cents on average for electricity. And you see others around the world pursuing this. Germany's electric rates, 45 cents kWh, you got California, 30 cents kWh.
They still have a long ways to go with a lot of investment to make to be able to become deeply decarbonized. So, I look forward to the time when labels for CO2 capture or CO2 emissions get put on product labels. I think when that starts to happen, you see Ontario's manufacturers, Ontario's businesses will stand proud and that their labels will say they are made with clean energy. It's very difficult for other entities to say that. They got a long way to go on that journey. And we're well ahead of the curve. And I think as Ontario, we need to take advantage of that and really look forward in terms of how we can use that advantage in the marketplace and create opportunity for Canadians and Ontarians.
Jacquie Hoornwe...: And what about the energy industry itself? I mean, within the Ontario nuclear industry alone, I think there's 60,000 people employed in various ways. And there was a study done that in the United States, two thirds of the states are now supportive of using nuclear as part of that mix. What do you see in terms of leveraging what's been built here in the supply chain in terms of taking that to other parts of Canada and internationally?
Mike Rencheck: Yeah. Jacquie, that's a great question. COP26, I think was a reckoning where folks started to look at CO2 emissions and really understand if we were going to get serious about reducing emissions. Continuing on the same path we've continued on in the last 20 years with just renewables, wasn't working. And suddenly nuclear starts to move forward in parallel with renewables. So, you need renewables, you need nuclear, you need carbon capture sequestration. We're going to need all the clean energy sources to be able to go forward. So, that means there's a role for everybody. There's an opportunity for everybody. It's really an opportunity to transition with investments in the clean energy space.
I think what we've shown here is we've got a model that works. And you look at Sweden, you look at Finland, you look at France, it's a very similar looking, and those economies are deeply decarbonized as well. And they have affordable energy rates. Now, I think that we've set a track record here in Ontario. We've demonstrated a path forward, and now we need to keep leveraging that to bring others on board. We look for the transportation sector to come next. That's now the largest sector of emissions here in Ontario. And we're very happy to see the announcements of EVs being built in Ontario.
We're hoping to see that now batteries will be built in Ontario because we have the mining. We have a clean energy grid here, so batteries can be powered by clean energy to manufacture them. You look around the world, if people are going to make batteries, they're going to use dirty energy to make the batteries. So what good is that going to come of it, right? So, you're going to use more CO2 emissions to make a battery. I think we're set really here in Ontario to be able to leverage our capabilities and our capacities for the prosperity of Ontarians and a betterment of society.
Jacquie Hoornwe...: Well, and to that betterment of society, I'm going to just switch paths here a little bit, because in addition to the very large focus on clean energy and the work that you're doing with the major component replacements to keep that going into the 2060s, you've also been doing a significant amount of work in expanding the capability around nuclear medicine and isotope production. First of all, tell us a little bit more about that and the components of that and what that means on the end user side.
Mike Rencheck: So, what we've done here at Bruce Power is really look at a community aspect of our life extension program. And what I mean by that, the 2008, 2009 recession really the recovery had forgotten rural Ontario. We had a lot of vacant buildings in the area. We had a lot of, I'll say, capacity capability that was not used. And consequently, you don't have opportunity in the area, right? The young people tend to go elsewhere. So, we thought, how could we go about changing that? So, since that timeframe, we've had about 63 companies now move into the area. We've had hundreds of thousands of vacant storefronts factories now put back into service, back into use. We've had companies come in now and invest in the area. We see companies now setting up shop in the area.
And that's having a ripple effect throughout. You're seeing new buildings go up, you're seeing new infrastructure get put in place, you're seeing small businesses get created. So it's really building out now the infrastructure of an area where you can leverage it up to the next level. So, when we talk about adding new things, now we have the capabilities here in rural Ontario to add hydrogen production, to add a new pump storage facility. The Ontario pumped hydro facility up towards Milford, if that gets added, that adds additional capacity here. And now we have companies in the area that can participate in. And then including indigenous companies.
So, it's a broad net for our community. It moves us further into medical isotopes. Now we can partner with different firms. We've partnered, as an example, with the Saugeen Ojibway Nation. Now they're investors in the Lutetium-177 production, that'll provide a funding stream to the community and with a new production system in place. And now sets the stage for the next production system. You see, we only have that one production system on one reactor. We can put that production system on at least six reactors, maybe all eight, and then multiple systems on a reactor. So our capacity for isotope production is just getting started, and that can spring off other businesses in the area.
The same with the carbon offsets, bringing our agricultural communities in, and others. So, like I said, we're trying to create an ecostructure here with our life extension program, not just to be able to supply clean electricity for Ontario for decades to come but to really create prosperity for Ontarians, opportunities for people, and really advance our work in the medical community and give them opportunities like they've not seen before. A difficult part about isotopes was no one could make them at scale before. We can solve that problem now. And I just think as we look at these opportunities going forward, they're boundless and they're only limited by our own creativity and ability to imagine what it could be.
Jacquie Hoornwe...: Yeah. So you mentioned the 60 plus companies that you brought in. And I just want to step back and talk a little bit more about that, because that is... You said it really fast, but there's a lot below that in terms of what you did. And when you first came to Bruce Power, you did a talk at the CANDU Owners Group, one of their lunch and learn events, their general business meetings. And you talked at that time, you had this vision, and you said, "Bruce Power cannot do this alone. We need to have supply chain come and join us and build this community and build this vision." And over the last several years, we have watched this vision become a reality. Talk a little bit about that process and that community building that you did and what that has meant in terms of your ability to innovate and to strengthen your business.
Mike Rencheck: Yeah. It started with, well, I think Minister Smith, about stable energy of policy allows us to look long term. And when we look long term, we can build with certainty. So, for many of these contractors, we have contracts in place that go 8, 10 years. They're multi-billion dollar contracts in some cases for the large ones and for the smaller ones. A lot less, but nonetheless it enables the stability of future so that you can put plans around it. And when you're doing something long term like that, the ability to be together is important. People that live together, play together, and work together stay together. We started in 2016, our investment runs really through the mid 2030s. That's a long time. So, people working together, collaborating, continuing to develop, evolve, that's how you create the infrastructure and I'll say the comradery to innovate, to create, to succeed and to overcome difficulties and adversaries when they have to, right? But by working together and collaborating, you can get those results. And I think that's what you're seeing here.
The little town of Saugeen Shores, it's about 14,000 people, they told me last year, in 2021, they had $131 million worth of building permits going on, right? So you're seeing that's beyond us now, right? That's other growth happening in the area that's now being put in place. And that's enabling infrastructure that may or may not have ever been in place for the towns and municipalities and the cities around us. So, just one example. And I think by working together, that collaboration and those partnerships, we're able to do things like this. And it's not all in every... A lot of these companies may have 10% of the work happening here.
So it doesn't take much. Like there's people spread all throughout the province able to engage. Like I said, we're dealing with a 480 companies, and those 480 companies probably deal with anywhere from 10 to 50 companies each. I know of one case where eight automatic technology systems, ATS, we have a $30 million contract with them to build tools. They have a hundred different companies working on those tools with them. So, it's quite a ripple effect for the economy. And that's why I say we're a made in Canada business, or a Canadian opportunity, not only to do the work here in Canada but the export. And a lot of our international suppliers are taking the innovations that we're learning and doing here and selling them around the world, selling that competency and that skillset.
Jacquie Hoornwe...: It's incredible watching this happen over the last several years. And when you're in the middle of it, it just happens. It feels more maybe incremental. But if you look at where it was and where it is today, what do you think the legacy of that is for Bruce County? And are there lessons that you think other leaders who are listening into this can take in terms of how you did that?
Mike Rencheck: We want to build a sustainable future, not only for the company, and the companies, and the unions, but the communities around us. We can have a big social impact with the things that we're doing when we work together. It doesn't have to be incrementalized. It doesn't have to be imported. We have the technology, we have the capability. So, when I look at that, we give ourselves our best opportunities and it just taking advantage of that and working together we're able to realize that. It's nothing complex, right? To do. It just takes people wanting to do it with a clear vision and a clear mission and being able to deliver on that day in and day out. And it's so fragile, right? Because it's easy to slip away with a bad policy decision or a failure of one company to get functional. And when we help each other be successful and we help each other perform, we're able to get through the hard times, like the pandemic has thrown us.
We've still been able to keep operating here at Bruce Power and advancing in spite of the pandemic because of those strong partnerships and vice versa. We've been able to help our partners keep operating. Many of them took our protocols here for protection and implemented them directly. So, we kept them viable and functional throughout the pandemic. So, I just think working together and collaborating makes all the difference, especially in the communities.
Jacquie Hoornwe...: Yeah. And I would say, even looking at the work that was done by your team in the pandemic, again, it can't be underscored enough. Some of the things that you accomplished, not only Bruce Power, although Bruce Powers had a significant leadership role in this, but also some of those local suppliers working together. I think you've even had development of apps to help track and share information through COVID. And hockey rinks of setting up vaccinations. And you've had a really significant effort in this. How do you connect that being a business and being a community?
Mike Rencheck: It's part of our mission statement. We view it as we're one and the same, right? We support the community, community support us. And quite frankly, if you don't have a strong community in the area, what good is it to have a strong business, right? When your employees have difficulties outside of work? So we knew early on that once we figured out how to stabilize our operations and protect our employees, and then our suppliers, that we needed to take that into the communities. And we actually had one of our top priorities early on in the pandemic that we were managing every day. And we're just happy we were able to help out and happy to contribute where we could. My hat goes off to James Cognac, Jen Edy and their teams for all the external work that's been done. My hat goes off to all of our suppliers and the unions that played very prominent roles in helping us not only deliver products and set up equipment, but to really keep working through this pandemic.
Like Minister Smith said, we've been able to continue advancing our refurbishment work in spite of the pandemic. Something I should say here, right? There were times we've had 12,000 individual people coming to the site each week during the pandemic. And we had to manage keeping them safe while still advancing the work. We set site building trades records for the numbers of people on site. At one point we had 2,900 building trades here to continue advancing our refurbishment. And they did that safely. We didn't have COVID outbreaks. We didn't have COVID issues. That took everybody working together. Was it easy? No, but when you work together and you're all pulling in the same direction, the load gets a lot lighter.
Jacquie Hoornwe...: Well, I think there's a business case study there somewhere. And I think this takes us to the next piece, which we're going to talk about attracting talent. And part of that goes to this piece that you have done with respect to connecting to other communities as well. Certainly at Ontario Tech, we've been extremely grateful for the support you've given to our students in bringing students in. You mentioned the top employer for youth. Just as we start to wrap up, tell us a little bit about that commitment to connecting to other communities and the diversity that you've brought in, and some of that, the initiatives you've done for diversity and also for anti-racism.
Mike Rencheck: Yeah, we started in 2016 with an indigenous supplier network and an indigenous employee network to work on how we could better integrate with communities, and then also how we could attract indigenous people into our business. That had great success. We're seeing new businesses created. We're seeing hiring continue. We'd now advance that even further. Like this year, I think 30% of all management positions now are filled with diversity candidates. As promotions are happening, about 50% of all of our new operators are female. So, we're seeing this tradition now become part of our culture and part of just the way we work. And I think that's what practice makes perfect, right? You build good habits. And everybody has an opportunity here, especially with the suppliers being here. I think Cathy Gregg told me last year we had about 31,000 applications over the last two years for I think 500 positions or so.
Jacquie Hoornwe...: Wow.
Mike Rencheck: So we want to create those opportunities. We want people to be engaged. We want to create the opportunities and help people fulfill what they aspire to fulfill in their lives as best we can while we are producing affordable, clean, reliable electricity and life saving medical isotopes, the core of our business. So with that, I'll wrap up and I'll turn it back to you [inaudible 00:58:13].
Jacquie Hoornwe...: Yeah. I think that's a great place to end. It's a really inspirational at a time where there's some challenges in our environment. This is a really great news story. So thank you so much Mike.
Jan De Silva: Mike, Jacquie, thank you both. Fantastic insights on climate action and Ontario's energy future. Look, I don't know what else to say other than Bruce County powerhouse. What's happening with Bruce Power in terms of your contribution to our energy supply, to climate transition, to medical solutions, to economic development jobs, global leadership, my gosh, is there anything we don't touch on? So thank you Mike for joining us. Jacquie, thanks for facilitating a great discussion. A lot of that discussion also centered on jobs, both jobs within Bruce Power but jobs in the ecosystem that's supporting Bruce Power.
So, with jobs being top of mind, I would like to draw your attention to a day long workforce summit that the board will be hosting on Tuesday, March 29th. We'll be bringing together top thought leaders and decision-makers on the theme of the workforce and ensuring in today's increasingly competitive environment for attracting talent that our region and our businesses continue to come out on top. So with that, Mike, can't thank you enough to Bruce Power. It's always an interesting discussion. Jacquie, best of luck, and looking forward to hearing more about the Brilliant Energy Institute. And with that, I'll sign off and say thanks everyone. Be well. Take care.