GLOBE-Net, January 11, 2013 – The Ontario government has announced that the last coal plants in southern Ontario will shut down a year ahead of schedule.
Premier Dalton McGuinty made the announcement last week saying the Lambton and Nanticoke coal plants will stop burning coal by the end of 2013. He attributed the early closure as the result of Ontario’s strong conservation efforts, a smarter electricity grid and a diverse supply of cleaner energy.
[stextbox id=”custom” float=”true” width=”200″ bcolor=”add3d5″ bgcolor=”add3d5″ image=”null”]Of the two units slated for shutdown by the end of the year the Nanticoke Generating Station, which at its peak capacity of near 4,000 megawatts, was one of the largest coal facilities in the world.[/stextbox]
“When we came to government in 2003 we decided to stop burning coal and to protect more green space to help clean our air, said the Premier. “Thanks to the conservation efforts of Ontarians, we were able to do just that, and today, all Ontarians can breathe a little easier.”
Shutting down the last coal plants in Southern Ontario will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save the province $95 million.
The official announcement noted that:
- Since 2003, Ontario has cut its use of coal by nearly 90 per cent.
- The province will have shut down 17 of 19 coal units by the end of 2013.
- By the end of 2014, Ontario will be one of the first places in the world to eliminate coal as a source of electricity production.
- According to a 2008 study from the Canadian Medical Association, Ontario’s economic cost related to air pollution, including lost productivity, health care costs, quality of life and loss of life, is almost $4 billion.
According to the Pembina Institute, the greenhouse gas emissions from Ontario’s electricity sector have fallen from 40 million tons to 10 million tons over the past decade because of the coal plant closings.
The coal ban runs a risk of eventually raising electricity prices, said Dave Butler, executive director of the Canadian Clean Power Coalition, which represents electricity producers. It also could have an immediate effect on jobs, considering that several hundred workers are employed at Nanticoke and Lambert, he said.
The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) applauded Ontario’s decision to abandon coal-fired electricity a year ahead of schedule. “The move to eliminate dirty coal from the provincial power system makes Ontario a North American leader in both environmental performance and in supporting the development of a clean energy economy,” said Robert Hornung, president of CanWEA.
“Ontario is one of North America’s wind energy leaders and every 1,000 MW of new wind energy development represents more than $2.5 billion in new investment. Our developers, manufacturers and construction contractors are excited and ready to help the province continue to build a world-leading power system that is cleaner and affordable.”
The Premier also announced the province is growing the Greenbelt for the first time since it was created in 2005. By adding the provincially owned Glenorchy lands in Oakville, the Greenbelt will increase to nearly two million acres of protected land across the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
Eliminating dirty coal and protecting green space is part of the Ontario government’s plan to improve air quality, curb urban sprawl and preserve a healthier environment.