Coal phase-out can be accomplished by 2010
Submitted by OCAA on Tue, 02/10/2009 - 05:30.
Ontario well positioned to beat 2014 target
February 10, 2009 - Ontario can phase out its dirty coal-fired electricity generation five years ahead of schedule, says a new report from the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA).
The report, Ontario’s Coal Phase Out: A major climate accomplishment within our grasp, shows that the province will have more than sufficient replacement generation capacity to achieve a virtually complete coal phase-out by January 1, 2010 based on data from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).
“Given the urgent need for action on climate change, this is fantastic news,” says Jack Gibbons, Chair of the OCAA. “Ending coal use five years ahead of the government’s official December 31, 2014 deadline would be the equivalent of taking an extra 2.3 million cars off the road each year between 2010 and 2014. As a result, millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases could be kept out of our atmosphere. What a great example that would set for the world.”
According to the IESO, Ontario’s coal-free generating capacity currently exceeds our peak day demand by 7%. In addition, almost 4,000 megawatts of additional coal-free generation will come online by 2010, leaving Ontario very comfortably positioned to idle coal use at that time.
“The only question remaining is whether the government will seize this opportunity to produce an immediate and significant climate benefit or whether it will sit back and let Ontario Power Generation continue to produce dirty coal power for export sales,” Mr. Gibbons said.
In fact, in 2008, approximately 47% of the coal fired electricity produced in Ontario was exported to the United States. “Let’s be absolutely clear: this power is not needed to keep our neighbours’ lights on. On the contrary, it is often used to displace more financially costly but cleaner power sources in places like New York State,” said Mr. Gibbons.
“These exports are costing us the air we breathe and the climate we rely upon on both sides of the border,” Mr. Gibbons said. “It is time for Ontario to immediately ban non-emergency coal-fired electricity exports and imports.”
“With the government promising a new approach with its Green Energy Act, now is the time to be ending the use of this dirty 19th century fuel and to really embrace the power of efficiency and renewable energy to cleanly meet our electricity needs,” Mr. Gibbons noted.
To that end, the report urges the government to set a target of signing up 1 million customers this summer for the “peaksaver” energy conservation program instead of investing more heavily in natural-gas fired peaking generation. And it calls for levelling the playing field between spending on efficiency programs and spending on high-cost, high-risk nuclear projects.
“Ontario’s coal phase out is the single largest climate initiative being undertaken anywhere in North America. Reaching a climate emissions reduction target five years ahead of schedule would be a magnificent achievement in a world where climate promises seem to come and go with the wind,” Mr. Gibbons notes. “Ontario must act on this tremendous opportunity.”
For more information:
Jack Gibbons 416-926-1907 ext. 240