Dogmatic Premier Puts Ontario At Risk - Higher Prices and Lower Air Quality



    Independent Study Raises More Questions About Premier's Energy Plan

    TORONTO, June 19 /CNW/ - A new independent analysis by energy experts
from Europe and the United States shows that the Ontario government's decision
not to continue retrofitting these stations with clean coal technology - like
its decision to close the province's coal-fuelled stations - is based on
biased and incomplete information. As a result, Ontarians will continue to be
exposed to higher electricity prices, potential supply shortages and
unnecessary air pollutants.
    Ontario's Minister of Energy has already rejected the advice of the
Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to retrofit the coal stations with clean coal
technology. In the Addendum to Discussion Paper 7: Emission Control
Alternatives for Ontario Coal Generators the OPA indicated that "consideration
should be given to emission control technology improvements to mitigate the
environmental impacts of generation from coal". The report also stated "that
it may be necessary to retain coal-fired generation in service until 2014 to
provide insurance against the risk that assumed amounts of conservation and
demand management (CDM) and supply resources will not be available".
    "Instead of retrofitting these coal stations to reduce emissions and
protect the health of the people of Ontario, the government continues to try
to skew the facts to fit a politically-motivated directive to close them,"
stated Don MacKinnon, President of the Power Workers' Union.
    "Twice now they've had to change the closure date because their plans
aren't working. Ontario needs this generation. Clean coal technology works."
    An analysis of the Addendum to Discussion Paper 7, prepared by Vattenfall
Europe and Global Energy Decisions, shows that the OPA's assessment did not
include all feasible emission control technologies and relevant technical
information. In addition, the costs of some of the technologies were
overestimated. For example, the investment costs for sulphur dioxide (SO2)
reductions were more than 250 per cent higher than Global's estimate. No
reference was made in the report to greenhouse gas emission mitigation
approaches now being successfully employed in Europe, or to Canada's new
emission regulations.
    Ontario has some of the cleanest coal generation facilities in the world.
Instead of leveraging this technical and operating expertise to become a
leader in the development of clean coal technology, these resources are being
wasted by this government. Ontario is also missing an opportunity to develop
technology partnerships with adjacent states that could lessen the impacts
U.S. facilities have on the province's air quality.
    "Both provincial and federal environment data clearly shows that the
province's coal stations have a minimal impact on our air quality. Everyone
knows that most emissions affecting our air quality are from U.S. sources,"
continued Mr. MacKinnon. "Besides that, experience in Ontario and in Europe
proves that existing, cost effective emission control technologies can reduce
greenhouse gases and improve our air quality."
    European experience shows that greenhouse gas emission reductions of up
to 30 per cent can be achieved by mixing biomass such as wheat shorts and
grain screenings with the coal and upgrading turbine equipment. Test burns
undertaken by Ontario Power Generation at the Nanticoke Station show these
approaches can work.
    The government's 2003 election campaign promise to close the province's
coal stations was made in spite of the need to replace 80 per cent of
Ontario's generation. Subsequently, the government directed the OPA to develop
an integrated power system plan that would place increased reliance on more
expensive natural gas, intermittent wind power and overly optimistic
conservation and demand management targets. Also ignored are the many risks
identified in earlier reports of the Independent Electricity System Operator
and the OPA that would impact consumers and the economy.
    The Power Workers' Union believes that Ontarians require an electricity
supply plan that is based on a number of sources, including clean coal,
hydroelectric and nuclear, along with other renewable options such as wind and
biomass. The PWU's Better Energy Plan - www.abetterenergyplan.ca - also
includes a review of the province's natural gas strategy, investment in
renewable power and the promotion of energy efficiency. This approach will
guarantee the people of Ontario and the businesses that operate here, an
affordable, clean and secure supply of energy all year round. Copies of the
PWU submission to the OPA can also be found at the above noted website.
    The Power Workers' Union is the largest electricity union in Ontario,
representing employees in electricity generation, transmission, distribution,
regulations, and research and development.





For further information:

For further information: Tonique Harry, Media Profile, (416) 504-8464,
tonique@mediaprofile.com

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Power Workers' Union

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