Another coal plant has bitten the dust in Ontario. A few days ago, the Atikokan Generating Station, located about 200 kilometres west of Thunder Bay, burned its last piece of coal. While it may be a long way from smoggy southern Ontario, the Atikokan plant was still a big polluter: dumping mercury and acid-rain generating fallout over the beautiful lakes, rivers and forests of the province’s northwest. And, of course, it was a major source of greenhouse gas emissions that affect us all.
Shutting down Atikokan also made sense economically. Ontario’s remaining coal plants are now all big money losers, requiring multi-million dollar public subsidies to remain in operation. With the province now enjoying a large power surplus, there is really no reason to leave these dirty money losers online. Our report Ontario’s electricity surplus: An opportunity to reduce costs spells out just how much we can save by shutting down dirty coal today. So here’s to a coal-free Ontario, sooner rather than later.