Thursday, April 11, 2013

Love Letters To Dalton McGuinty

These two pieces overlap a bit, but together they are probably the best account's I've read of Ontario's long journey away from coal under Dalton McGuinty, something he doesn't get much credit for up here in Canada.  An excerpt from the first:

A decade ago, Ontario’s coal-fired power plants were responsible for the province’s largest water withdrawals, accounting for 1.8 billion cubic meters (475 billion gallons) of water taken annually for cooling and steam generation from rivers and Lake Ontario. The province’s coal-fired plants were built with once-through cooling systems, meaning that, after passing through the plants, most of that moisture was returned to the environment as hot water.

Next year, though, Canada’s most populous and industrialized province is scheduled to complete a 21st-century environmental clean-up project that distinguishes it among North American jurisdictions.

After a decade of work by the Liberal Party government, Ontario is scheduled to close the last of its big coal-fired generators at the end of this year, leaving a single small coal-fired unit available during periods of peak electrical demand until it closes next year. In shutting down the province’s 19 boilers fueled by coal, Ontario will no longer need fresh water to operate a coal-fired generating sector that provided one-quarter of its electricity, and the province will become the first industrial region on the continent to eliminate coal-fired generation.

I might have said this before, but when I first moved to T.O. big smog clouds would blow in every summer and hang over the city for days at a time, so thick that you could taste the chemicals in your sweat.  Not good for asthmatics, or anyone really.  You don't see them anymore, and some of the thanks has to go to McGuinty era policies.


Paul Kuster said...

I can agree with most of those 2 pieces but there are some omissions here that should be pointed out. Hydro rates can be attributed to renewables because of the insane contract set-ups that are present. The fact that we buy wind at 13.5 cents per kwh and we sell it highly discounted to the grid or abroad. The subsidies paid to wind producers over and above what conventional generation receives is also a significant driver of increases in pricing. The recent gas plant relocation costs are now starting to show up on our bills. That's all part of the GEA file. Gas plants were the significant reason for the decommissioning of coal plants ( a good thing by the way)and renewables are by no means required or necessary . The jobs claims are also erroneous. In Scotland for example, just over 2000 jobs are confirmed by the energy ministry for just around 3800mw of onshore turbines. The job numbers just aren't there nor will they be.
I was raised in Toronto during the 60's and 70's and yes the air was horrid. I will give McGuinty credit for the closing of the coal plants ( just opposed as to how it was done), but that pales in relation to the smog that came up from the "Rust Belt". The recent economic implosion has done more to clean up our air than much else.

bigcitylib said...

Yeah, a lot of pollution blew in from the states.

Paul Kuster said...

And so it continues even today. Just depends on your definition of pollution, eh?

Steve Bloom said...

That works both ways. I seem to recall an outbreak of Canadian pollution in DC just the other day.

Paul Kuster said...

One persons pollution is someone else's fresh air.