Existing coal plants in Canada

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As of June 2010, Canada has 24 coal-fired power plants (51 generating units) producing 19 percent of the country's electricity and 13 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions. Table 1 lists these plants.[1]

Province Plant Operator Capacity Year Built Year Retired
Alberta Battle River Generating Station Atco Power 165, 165, 405
Alberta Genesee 3 Capital Power Corporation 430, 430, 450 1989-2005
Alberta H.R. Milner Generating Station Maxim Power Corp 150 172
Alberta Keephills TransAlta 400, 400 1983-1984
Alberta Sheerness Atco Power 400, 400 1986-1990
Alberta Sundance TransAlta 304, 304, 380, 380, 380, 433 1970-1980
Alberta Wabamun Generating Station TransAlta 66, 66, 159, 279 1958-1967 2002-2004,2010
Manitoba Brandon Generating Station Manitoba Hydro 33, 33, 33, 33, 33, 105 1958-1969
New Brunswick Belledune Generating Station New Brunswick Power 450 1993
New Brunswick Dalhousie Generating Station New Brunswick Power 300 1969
Nova Scotia Lingan Generating Station Nova Scotia Power 158, 158, 158, 158 1979-1984
Nova Scotia Point Aconi Generating Station Nova Scotia Power 210 1994
Nova Scotia Point Tupper Generating Station Nova Scotia Power 150 1973
Nova Scotia Trenton Generating Station Nova Scotia Power 150, 150 1969-1991
Ontaria Atikokan Generating Station Ontario Power Generation 211 1985
Ontaria Hearn Generating Station Ontario Power Generation 1200 1951-1961 1983
Ontaria Lakeview Generating Station (retired) Ontario Power Generation 2400 1962-1969 2005
Ontaria Lambton Generating Station Ontario Power Generation
Ontaria Nanticoke Generating Station Ontario Power Generation
Ontaria Thunder Bay Generating Station Ontario Power Generation 165, 165 1981
Saskatchewan Boundary Dam Power Station SaskPower 66, 66, 150, 150, 292 1959-1978
Saskatchewan Poplar River Power Station SaskPower 281, 281 1980-1983
Saskatchewan Shand Power Station SaskPower 300 1992
New Brunswick Grand Lake-4 New Brunswick Power 60 1964

Old coal plant phase-out

On June 23, 2010, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said Canada will phase out older coal-fired power plants to cut the country's greenhouse gas emissions, moving toward gas fired plants. The new standards, expected to be firmed up by early 2011, will force electricity producers to phase out older, high-emitting coal-fired plants and require newer facilities to match the emissions of gas fired plants. 33 of 51 of Canada's plants will reach the end of their economic lives by 2025; unless the operators make substantial investments to cut emissions from the aging facilities, they'll be required to shut down. According to Prentice: "Our regulation will be very clear. When each coal-burning unit reaches the end of its economic life, it will have to meet the new standards or close down. No trading, no offsets, no credits." The measure is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the country by 15 megatonnes. Along with the proposed regulations, Prentice also announced the government would contribute C$400 million ($384 million) for its share of a fund set up under the Copenhagen accord to help impoverished countries cope with climate change.[2]

Ontario Phase-Out Program

In 2001, Ontario generated 37,000 Gigawatt hours of electricity from coal.[3] As of 2008, Ontario had four coal-fired fuel stations: Nanticoke, Lambton, Thunder Bay, and Atikokan. Together they account for approximately sixteen per cent of Ontario's generating capacity.[4] In 2007, Ontario's Labor government committed to phasing out all coal generation in the province by 2014. Premier Dalton McGuinty said, "By 2030 there will be about 1,000 more new coal-fired generating stations built on this planet. There is only one place in the world that is phasing out coal-fired generation and we're doing that right here in Ontario."[5]

Oct 2010: Ontario to shut four coal units

In October 2010, the Canadian government announced that they will be shutting down four coal-fired units in Ontario, a move applauded by the Green Energy Act Alliance (GEAA), nurses, farmers, First Nations, trade unionists, environmentalists, and builders of clean energy. Since 2003, when coal-fired electricity use peaked, the Ontario Power Generation's emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are down 81 and 77 per cent. The plant's carbon dioxide emissions are down 71 per cent from 2003. 2009 generation by Ontario's coal plants was at the lowest levels in 45 years. 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.[6]

The 2008 report by the Ontario Medical Association, "Illness Cost of Air Pollution" found that air pollution was a factor in almost 9,500 premature deaths each year in Ontario. In 2005, smog was a factor for over 16,000 hospital admissions. Doris Grinspun, Executive Director of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO), said in a press release: "Nurses are pleased with today's announcement because it will save lives. We know up to 250 deaths each year are directly related to the burning of coal. That's why we are calling on the government to keep moving forward and accelerate its plan to shut down all coal plants." The RNAO is pleased that the four units are shutting down but would like the 11 remaining units that are running to also be non-operational.[6]

November 2010: Senate rejects CO2 reductions

In November 2010, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government defeated climate change legislation put forth by opposition parties calling for carbon dioxide emissions cuts. The motion called for a reduction of Canadian greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels. It had no legal weight but would have pressured the government to explain its lesser emissions reduction target to the UNFCCC. The legislation was passed by the House of Commons one year ago with the support of all three of Canada's opposition parties, and reintroduced and passed again in May 2010, but was defeated in the Conservative-dominated Senate.[7]

The Harper government has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 2006 levels by 2020, leading to a 60-70 percent reduction from 2006 levels by 2050. But the figures are less significant when compared to the efforts of other nations and political-economic blocs -- notably the European Union, which is to cut emissions by up to 30 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels, as required by the Kyoto Protocol. If pegged to 1990 levels, Canadian carbon reductions would amount to a mere 3 percent, critics note. And carbon emissions are currently up more than 35 percent from 1990.[7]

Resources

References

Related SourceWatch articles

External resources

"Coal phase out," Wikipedia