Energy professionals laud Wynne government's Thunder Bay biomass conversion

TORONTO, Nov. 15, 2013 /CNW/ - The Society of Energy Professionals lauded the Wynne government's announcement that it will convert the Thunder Bay Generating Station to advanced biomass generation. This key infrastructure investment supports northern jobs and economic development by securing its energy future, and cost-effectively reduces Ontario's greenhouse gas emissions.

With plans to end coal generation at the Thunder Bay Generating Station (TBGS) within the next year, The Society of Energy Professionals has long advocated the conversion to biomass. This decision will save as many as 100 good jobs at the Ontario Power Generation-operated TBGS and open up new economic opportunities in the region. Though The Society is pleased with the overall announcement, it notes that the government has only committed to contract for 15,000 tonnes of fuel, or enough for the plant to run at 2% capacity. As a result, The Society urges the Ministry to build in flexibility to substantially increase that fuel supply in order to sufficiently power the load growth expected from new mining developments in the Ring of Fire.

"This is great news for northern Ontarians and demonstrates the foresight of the Wynne government," said Society of Energy Professionals President Scott Travers. "The biomass conversion will save jobs and provide clean energy. In the longer-term, it also means that Ontario will be able to see the benefits of its mineral wealth through development of the Ring of Fire."

Mineral development will create 23,588 jobs. The economic impact will be extraordinary with taxes alone totaling $16 billion over 17.5 years.

"Workers at the Thunder Bay plant are ecstatic. This ensures most of them will continue to have good jobs supporting the new biomass plant and be positive contributors to the local economy of Thunder Bay," said The Society's OPG Local Vice President Joe Fierro, who also noted that the City of Thunder Bay is a welcome host of this generating station. "We are also pleased that the government has reaffirmed its confidence in the publicly-owned Ontario Power Generation as a proven low-cost, high-quality energy generator."

The Society of Energy Professionals represents 8,300 knowledge workers and supervisors employed by 13 employers that are responsible for the generation, transmission and regulation of energy in Ontario in both the broader public and private sectors.

SOURCE: The Society of Energy Professionals

For further information:

Scott Travers, President, Society of Energy Professionals: (416) 729-8818, traverss@thesociety.ca

Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler, Communications Officer, Society of Energy Professionals: (647) 500-2394, adam@thesociety.ca


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