TORONTO, July 20, 2012 /CNW/ - Today the Power Workers' Union (PWU)
warned that any further delay in the low-cost, low-risk conversion of
Ontario's coal generating stations from coal to natural gas and biomass
will cost much more than the cancelled Mississauga gas generating
On July 10, Ontario's Minister of Energy announced that the cancelled
280 MW natural gas plant planned for Mississauga would be relocated to
property on Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) Lambton Generating Station
site near Sarnia. OPG will be forced to give up this valuable property
to the private developer.
Ontario will pay out $190 million to resolve all outstanding legal
agreements and cover engineering; permitting and construction costs
incurred to date by privately owned Greenfield South Power in
Mississauga. The payout will not cover any costs related to building
the new Greenfield South station - those costs along with a tidy profit
will be paid by electricity consumers.
At the same time, the publicly owned, coal fuelled OPG Lambton
Generating Station, located on the St. Clair River approximately 26
kilometres south of Sarnia, is scheduled to be shut down by the end of
2014 as part of the government's coal station closure policy. Two of
the station's four, 475 megawatt (MW) generators have already been
shutdown. The remaining two units currently provide electricity needed
during periods of peak power demand.
"Two of the OPG Lambton generating units, capable of producing 950 MW
can be converted from coal to natural gas for less than the $190
million penalty being paid just to relocate the Mississauga plant,"
stated Don MacKinnon, President of the Power Workers' Union.
Additionally, the PWU is concerned about the provincial government's
plans for the future of OPG's Nanticoke Generating Station - also
scheduled to close in 2014. The province has yet to make an
announcement about the compensation it will pay for its earlier
cancellation of the $1.2 billion Oakville natural gas plant.
"Converting Ontario's valuable coal generating stations is billions of
dollars less expensive and less risky than building new natural gas
generating stations. These are assets, owned by the people of Ontario,
that are already paid for," said MacKinnon.
MacKinnon noted that when the remaining two Lambton units and four more
at Nanticoke on Lake Erie are shutdown, Ontarians will lose a revenue
source and 2,830 MW of low-cost generation that has historically helped
keep electricity prices among the lowest in North America.
The PWU has been advocating the conversion of the Lambton and Nanticoke
stations to be co-fuelled with natural gas and domestically sourced,
renewable, carbon-neutral biomass. This would mean a much lower cost
investment; provide a major boost to Ontario's forestry and
agricultural sectors; decrease the province's dependence upon imported
natural gas; and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
"It's time to commit to convert these coal stations as part of a
comprehensive strategy to recreate a reliable, affordable, clean and
secure electricity supply mix in Ontario to help make our businesses
and industries competitive. Ontarians deserve a full, transparent
accounting of the costs and benefits of the alternatives," concluded
The Power Workers' Union is the largest electricity union in Ontario,
representing employees in electricity generation, transmission,
distribution, regulations, and research and development.
SOURCE Power Workers' Union
For further information:
John Sprackett, Power Workers' Union, (416) 322-4787, firstname.lastname@example.org