Ontario shuts down coal energy plants
The Green Energy Act
Alliance (GEAA), a coalition of farmers, First Nations, trade
unionists, environmentalists and builders of clean energy,
applauded today’s announcement by the Ontario government that it is
shutting down four coal-fired units today.
This is a huge contribution to the Premier’s commitment to
replace coal entirely with clean energy sources.
“A coal-free Ontario will reduce air pollution and these
closures Friday bring us that much closer to replacing coal-fired
generation by 2014. Ontario will be one of the first jurisdictions
in the world to move from a past of dirty coal generation to a
future of clean energy,” said Ontario Minister of Energy Brad
Duguid in an email to Reuters.
“Coal is history is Ontario,” said Dr.
Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence, the
coordinating organization for the GEAA. “Ontario can’t afford the
costs of coal any longer - the smog, human illness and global
warming that coal-fired energy brings. Replacing coal with
renewable energy is a bargain by any measure.”
Government figures show that since 2003, when coal-fired
electricity use peaked, Ontario Power Generation’s emissions of
sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides - the main components of air
pollution, are down 81 and 77 per cent, respectively. The coal
plants’ carbon dioxide emissions, the leading pollutant that causes
climate change, are down 71 per cent from 2003.
“The government’s plan to phase out coal was the first step on
its path towards building a more sustainable energy system for
Ontario,” said Deborah Doncaster,
Community Power Fund’s Executive Director. “Progress on that plan
and the introduction of the award winning Green Energy and
Green Economy Act has opened the door for renewable energy,
community and residential ownership of projects, and thousands of
“Ontario is distinguishing itself as being the first
jurisdiction in Canada that was
once heavily dependent on coal power but is now phasing it out
completely by using clean and renewable energy resources,” said
Tim Weis, Director of Renewable
Energy and Efficiency at the Pembina Institute.
GEAA members are pleased that people all over Ontario have
embraced the Act and the phase out of coal by lining up to generate
their own energy from renewable sources. The province has
added more than 8,000 megawatts of new, cleaner energy since
2003. GEAA members are also pleased that a great number of
projects, especially those in the microFit category, are owned by
school, community and First Nations groups, as well as individual
Ontarians, including farmers and homeowners.
- In 2009, generation by Ontario’s coal plants was at its lowest
level in 45 years, and down more than 70 per cent from 2003.
- SO2 emissions from the coal plants are down 81 per
cent (from 2003 levels in 2009).
- NOx emissions are down 77 per cent (from 2003 levels in
- CO2 emissions from the coal plants are down 71 per
- In 2004, the Ontario Ministry of Energy estimated that when the
health and environmental impacts are factored into the cost of
electricity, coal costs 16.4 cents per kilowatt hour compared to
9.6 cents for wind.
- The Ontario Medical Association’s 2008 report “Illness Cost of
Air Pollution” concluded that air pollution was a contributing
factor in almost 9,500 premature deaths per year in Ontario. The
OMA’s report said that smog was responsible for over 16,000
hospital admissions in 2005.
About the Green Energy Act Alliance: The Alliance’s vision is to
make Ontario a global leader in green energy development through
the use of renewable energy, distributed energy and conservation,
creating thousands of jobs, economic prosperity, and energy
security, while ensuring climate protection.