Push on to close Northwest
coal-fired power plants
By Ward Holland - The Chronicle-Journal
June 18, 2002
The coal-fired generating plants in Thunder
Bay and Atikokan
should be closed within three years or converted to cleaner-burning
fuels, a provincial committee says.
The Select Committee on Alternative Fuel Sources — made
up of five Tory MPPs, three
Liberals and one New Democrat — presented its final report
to the Ontario
legislature last week.
“There is a general feeling among the committee that
moving from coal to gas, and then onto green energy like
wind power, would be a logical way to deal with it,” MPP
Doug Galt (PC—Northumberland), chairman of the committee,
The report claims to lay the groundwork to shift to more
renewable and sustainable fuel and energy options for
“The committee understands that Ontario
has never had an overall strategy for the promotion and
use of alternative fuels and energy,” it states.
“The report proposes that such a provincial strategy
be developed to set a framework for action. Ontario
can become a leader in the support for and use of alternative
fuels and energy.”
The government should close Ontario Power Generation’s
Atikokan and Thunder Bay
coal-fired generating stations no later than July 1, 2005, the report continues.
It suggests they be replaced by wind farms, possibly
on the plateau adjacent to Thunder
Bay, and that the province close
all remaining coal- or oil-fired generating stations by
Gary Shchepanik, an OPG employee,
said the Power Workers Union, which has 10,000 members,
was to deal with the issue today and is lobbying the government
“to show the inappropriateness of a scheme” like closing
“As an employee of Thunder Bay Generating Station, it’s
not the brightest idea,” Shchepanik
“Having only a short time frame, how you plan to replace
500 megawatts of power with wind power, when it hasn’t
been done in North America, is
Shchepanik said a provincial
election is expected and groups like these committees
have to air their thoughts. However, he added, the government
has to protect its industry. “That’ s our livelihood,” he said.
The Ontario Clean Air Alliance also released a report
Monday that states the province can phase out use of coal.
“In as little as three years, Ontario won’t need to burn
even a single lump of coal to produce all the electricity
the province needs, according to a study . . . based on
power market scenarios developed by Ontario’s Independent
Electricity Market Operator,” it states.
The alliance says nuclear reactors are to return to service
between 2002 and 2005. “The return to service of these
reactors would completely eliminate the need for coal-fired
power generation by 2005,” the report states.