November 10, 2006

Coal phase out within our grasp

When the Ontario Government put the coal phase out on ice this past June, the justification was a potential shortfall in peak power supplies on hot summer days in years to come.  Seemingly taken by surprise by an Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) report that ratcheted up the calculation of how much power the province would need to weather an extended summer heat wave, the government stopped the coal phase-out in its tracks and handed the phase-out file to the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) for further consideration.
With the OPA on the cusp of releasing  a revised coal phase-out plan, we took another look at the numbers produced by the IESO and have found that, in fact, Ontario is in good shape to proceed with the coal phase out by 2009.  Our calculations, based on IESO data, show that the province can fill the remaining peak power gap quickly and cost-effectively by converting the Nanticoke and Thunder Bay coal plant boilers to much cleaner-burning natural gas.  We also found that Nanticoke, post-conversion, would largely fill a stand-by role to provide power on peak summer days, meaning its impact on natural gas demand would be negligible.
The impact on air pollution, including greenhouse gases of proceeding with the full coal phase-out, however, would be very significant indeed.  Ending coal burning at Ontario’s electricity generating stations would provide the province with 50-80% of the greenhouse gas emission reductions the entire province needs to meet its Kyoto targets by 2010.  In other words, a coal phase out represents a genuine, concrete action plan to curb this province’s contribution to global warming — a real green plan for a change.
Please email Premier Dalton McGuinty and urge him to fulfill his promise to phase out the use of coal by 2009 —

You can view our report, Phasing Out Coal: 2006 Progress Report by going to our website at

Please pass this message on to your friends.

Thank you

Jessica Fracassi
Communications & Membership Manager
402-625 Church St, Toronto M4Y 2G1
Phone: 416-926-1907 ext. 245
Fax: 416-926-1601