Canadian Construction Association of Ontario [Canadian Construction]

Canadian Construction Association of Ontario

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Ontario’s Future: a Reality Check On Ontario’s Energy Plan And 46% Hike In Electricity Prices.

Critics of the Ontario government’s plan to phase out coal-
generated electricity in 2014 warn it will mean the elimination of the province’s cheapest form of electricity, will result in soaring utility bills for consumers and industry and deal another blow to a manufacturing industry already reeling from the loss of 400, 000 jobs since the start of the McGuinty government.

Perhaps nowhere in the province is the pain of the government’s ill-conceived “green” energy plan more acute than in Sarnia, the home of the coal-fired Lambton Generating Station. Now slated to close in two years’ time,

LGS is the most reliable and cheapest source of power in the province, producing electricity at about 4 cents per kilowatt hour. LGS, along with the Nanticoke coal plant on Lake Erie, provide 6, 000 megawatts (MW) of steady, baseload power that can only be replaced by more expensive nuclear plants, the construction of new natural gas generating stations or by importing expensive electricity from out of province. Niche power sources such as solar and wind power are not only far more expensive sources of electricity, they are intermittent and cannot make up for the huge amount of electricitycurrentlyprovided by coal.

A key argument offered by the Ontario government for closing the “dirty” coal-fired stations was that phasing out coal would clear the air, save thousands of lives and save billions of dollars in health care spending annually. Those claims of coal-related deaths and health care savings have since been debunked. Worse, the province’s argument behind the closure of the Lambton and Nanticoke plants ignores basic geography: the Lambton station sits across from Michigan’s massive St. Clair Power Plant and the Ohio corridor hosts more than 90 coal-fired plants which will continue producing affordable electricity irrespective of Ontario’s green power dreams.

The irony is that the publicly owned Lambton Generating Station is already one of the cleanest coal-fired power plants on the continent. Two of its four generators, producing 950 MW utilize state of the art scrubber technology to remove 95% or more of the sulphur dioxide from exhaust flue gasses. Industry analysts recommend that OntarioPowerGenerationinstall scrubbers in the other two units of LGS, raising power generation to 1, 976 MWs, a far more cost-effective solution than signing up for more enormously expensive alternative power schemes. “The technology we have in place at Lambton Generating can remove 98% of the nitric oxides and other residual pollutants, ” says Ross Tius, Business Manager for U.A. Local 663, Plumbers and Steamfitters.

Coal versus solar and wind

Coal-fired generation facilities produce power at a cost of only 4 cents per kilowatt hour versus 44.3 cents per KWH for solar energy and approximately 19 cents per KWH for wind generated. Ontario also committed to paying
as much as 80 cents a KWH for some small-scale solar projects. Not only is coal-fired power the cheapest source of electricity in the province, it is reliable and available 24 hours a day, compared with solar and wind which are intermittent sources at best.

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