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Longer wait to close coal power plants

A Liberal election pledge to stop burning coal to generate electricity has been delayed again because advisers underestimated the impact of shutting down the pollution-heavy plants, Energy Minister Dwight Duncan said yesterday.

Duncan confirmed speculation Ontario will have to keep coal in its power mix longer than planned, based on new advice by the Independent Electricity System Operator that once again delays government plans to drastically cut smog-causing emissions.

The IESO said the Lambton station near Sarnia will have to stay open for a "prolonged period" beyond its scheduled closure in 2007, and that the giant Nanticoke facility in southwestern Ontario will have to keep running past a 2009 target.

"It does not change our objective, but it means we have to take a pragmatic approach and adjust the timelines for replacing coal," Duncan said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

A year ago, the Liberals postponed the closure of Nanticoke to 2009 from 2007.

The IESO said its previous forecasts underestimated peak demand during the summer season, when air conditioners run full out, and overestimated available hydro supply during summer as water levels recede.

The IESO changes show Ontario needs 2,500 to 3,000 megawatts more supply this year and next than they had thought a year ago. The Lambton plant... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Duncan confirmed speculation Ontario will have to keep coal in its power mix longer than planned, based on new advice by the Independent Electricity System Operator that once again delays government plans to drastically cut smog-causing emissions.
 
The IESO said the Lambton station near Sarnia will have to stay open for a "prolonged period" beyond its scheduled closure in 2007, and that the giant Nanticoke facility in southwestern Ontario will have to keep running past a 2009 target.
 
"It does not change our objective, but it means we have to take a pragmatic approach and adjust the timelines for replacing coal," Duncan said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
 
A year ago, the Liberals postponed the closure of Nanticoke to 2009 from 2007.
 
The IESO said its previous forecasts underestimated peak demand during the summer season, when air conditioners run full out, and overestimated available hydro supply during summer as water levels recede.
 
The IESO changes show Ontario needs 2,500 to 3,000 megawatts more supply this year and next than they had thought a year ago. The Lambton plant alone produces nearly 2,000 MW and Nanticoke almost double that.
 
The Liberals relied heavily on the previous figures in formulating their promise to close the coal plants in the first place, and in creating a timeline to replace coal with cleaner sources of power, including wind projects.
 
"Certainly we're disappointed," Duncan said. "We have relied on (IESO) numbers. Our campaign commitment was based on their numbers."
 
Two smaller coal plants, Thunder Bay and Atikokan, are still expected to go offline as scheduled next year.
 
Duncan said he'll elaborate on how long the plants will stay open "early next week," when he plans to deliver a long-awaited government response to December recommendations calling for $70 billion in new electricity projects, half of it involving controversial nuclear power.
 
It's unclear how much the IESO's forecast changes might impact the recommendations released by the Ontario Power Authority. Much of the OPA's report was based on IESO data.
 
The changes also mean electricity supply will be lower than the Liberals previously thought next summer -- just months before the October 2007 election.
 
While Duncan said the forecasting changes caught the Liberals off guard, IESO spokesman Terry Young said the government knew last fall that changes to the agency's forecasting methods were coming.
 
Young said the revisions are based on last year's extremely hot summer, not errors or miscalculations.
 
Yesterday's IESO report doesn't recommend new closure dates. But it does say Lambton's closure could be stalled by construction delays for a new 1,600 MW natural gas plant in the Sarnia area, which will take two years to complete.
 
It also said Nanticoke can't close until "substantial changes" are made to transmission lines there that help flow power into the Greater Toronto Area.


Source: http://www.hamiltonspectat...

JUN 11 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/2999-longer-wait-to-close-coal-power-plants
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