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Energy policy in Ontario - Ontario needs clean coal, it is as good as it gets."

Energy Probe's Tom Adams' presentation to the Ontario Energy Association Breakfast Series' "Energy Policy in Ontario: Some Perspectives on the Road Ahead," on March 8, showcased a debate between Tom Adams and Jack Gibbons of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance. Tom's presentation advanced the case for "clean coal" and state of the art coal technologies and appears in full below:

"Jack delivers a simple message and he does it so well, 'All coal is bad.'

My message is 'Clean coal is as good as it gets.' Clean coal is so good, that instead of fooling around with yesterday's gas and nuclear technologies, Ontario should start building new coal-fired generators, starting at the Lakeview site in Mississauga.
I am going to present the case for coal in five parts:

1. The public has been mislead about coal;

2. Pollution control technologies work;

3. Exciting new technologies are rapidly developing;

4. Consequences of not moving forward with clean coal;

5. We will develop a graceful exit for the Ontario government from its rash anti-coal promise.

#1 What has the public been told about coal?

The public has been spun on coal. They have been told:

- Air pollution control scrubbers only cut pollution by of 1%;

- Lambton is Ontario’s #2 polluter;

- Investing in scrubbers would be a waste of money; and

- It is a myth that the best Lambton generators are comparable to gas.

These statements are all misleading as I will make clear.

#2 Do pollution control technologies work?

Our cleanest coal power – L3/ 4 – have new scrubbers that slash acid gases and toxic mercury emissions by about 80%. I could tell you that they are in... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
"Jack delivers a simple message and he does it so well, 'All coal is bad.'

My message is 'Clean coal is as good as it gets.' Clean coal is so good, that instead of fooling around with yesterday's gas and nuclear technologies, Ontario should start building new coal-fired generators, starting at the Lakeview site in Mississauga.
I am going to present the case for coal in five parts:

1. The public has been mislead about coal;

2. Pollution control technologies work;

3. Exciting new technologies are rapidly developing;

4. Consequences of not moving forward with clean coal;

5. We will develop a graceful exit for the Ontario government from its rash anti-coal promise.

#1 What has the public been told about coal?

The public has been spun on coal. They have been told:

- Air pollution control scrubbers only cut pollution by ½ of 1%;

- Lambton is Ontario’s #2 polluter;

- Investing in scrubbers would be a waste of money; and

- It is a myth that the best Lambton generators are comparable to gas.

These statements are all misleading as I will make clear.

#2 Do pollution control technologies work?

Our cleanest coal power – L3/ 4 – have new scrubbers that slash acid gases and toxic mercury emissions by about 80%. I could tell you that they are in the cleanest 2 percentile of all the coal plants in NAFTA but who would care. More importantly, our best coal is cleaner than many gas-fired power plants in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York – all key power suppliers to Ontario who also share our air. Closing L3/4 will increase air pollution in Ontario.

As to the allegation that scrubbers only cut emissions by ½ of 1%, the spin there is to treat toxic emissions like mercury with CO2.

#3 How are state of the art coal technologies doing?

Just great.

With technology in hand to virtually eliminate acid gases, and with progress on mercury, the next emission challenge is CO2. The Europeans currently have the lead with cogeneration, fuel blending with biofuels and high efficiency boilers all being used there today, with success. The Japanese and Americans are channeling staggering resources into coal R&D.

Geologic sequestration of CO2 is further out on the horizon but also looks promising. South western Ontario appears to enjoy geology suitable for massive, longterm CO2 storage.

#4 What are our prospects if we don’t go ahead with clean coal?

Gloomy.

Solar is popular, but how many people know that in Germany the price paid for solar last year was $1.15/kWh? Lambton power costs about 4 cents. New water power in Ontario is also popular but the potential is limited and many remaining sites are sensitive.

The Ontario Power Authority has set out its vision of the consequences of not building a clean coal future in Ontario. What we will get is a perverse and hideously expensive two-for-one deal. The OPA's plan calls for a lot of gas plants to be built ASAP to cover the supply gap while nuclear plants are being constructed.

In effect, to take out one unit of coal, Ontario finds itself in a position where it has to build one unit of gas plus one unit of new nuclear.

#5 How can the Ontario government make a graceful exit from a promise that it must now understand was rash?

At the time its policy was developed, the outlook for gas prices appeared moderate, security issues only interested fringe groups, and the technologies for clean coal were less advanced. Getting rid of dirty coal was a great idea. It still is.

The government should follow the IESO's lead in focusing on reliability. The government should be credited for demonstrating flexibility in staying the execution on some units by over a year.

Obviously, the government must rescind its closure order on Ontario's cleanest coal power. Closing Lambton 3 and 4 will increase mercury, NOX, and SOX pollution in Ontario. The scrubbed power from Lambton 3 and 4 is environmentally beneficial and must be preserved.

Sliding the schedule for killing the other existing coal units we need is not good enough: the government should order scrubbers for several existing coal units immediately.

Only the unreasonable could criticize the government for expanding the scope of the OPA to survey all option, including clean coal technologies and to present to the public the best options. Ontario could so easily be taking advantage of the advancements being paid for by others.

What is the bottom line?

Ontario has only one power generation option that can stand on its own. It needs no government subsidies. Its technology is modern and moving forward rapidly. Its cost is low. Its supply is secure. It's not interesting to terrorists. Its environmental outlook is responsible. Its production is reliable enough to support intermittent generators like wind power or to fill in when nuclear generators shut down for years at a time.

Ontario needs clean coal, it is as good as it gets."


Source: www.energyprobe.org

MAR 8 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1912-energy-policy-in-ontario-ontario-needs-clean-coal-it-is-as-good-as-it-gets
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