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Ontario Coal Closure Launches Countdown To Green Energy

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Ontario Coal Closure Launches Countdown To Green Energy

Early Closure of Four Coal Units Significant Milestone to Improving Air Quality and Lives

Ministry of Energy

Ontario is making landmark progress on Canada's largest climate change initiative as Ontario Power Generation (OPG) prepares to close four coal-fuelled power units in 2010 - four years ahead of the 2014 target.

This milestone launches Ontario's ten steps to transition the province to electricity generated from green energy which will open investment and opportunities in Ontario's green economy.
OPG will close two of eight units at its Nanticoke station near Simcoe and two of four units at its Lambton plant near Sarnia by October 2010.  Together these plants represent about 2,000 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity.  With the shutdown of Lakeview Generating Station in 2005, Ontario's in-service coal capacity will be reduced by 40 per cent since 2003.  Coal-fired generation contributes to air pollution which has a negative impact on the health of Ontarians.

Today's announcement puts the province on track to be one of the first jurisdictions in the world to eliminate coal-fired electricity generation.  Since 2003, over 7,000 MW of new and refurbished generation have come online to ensure reliability, including over 3,700 MW of new natural gas fired plants and over 1,200 MW of renewable energy. It also advances the province's vision for the Green Energy Act 2009 furthering the investment climate which will make it easier to bring renewable energy to life.

OPG will continue to assess converting its remaining 11 units to other types of fuel such as biomass, a renewable fuel source that could not only provide Ontario with renewable energy, but could provide an alternate use for existing coal plants, as coal is phased out in the years ahead.  Atikokan Generating Station will be OPG's initial focus for transition to biomass by the target year of 2012.

Quick Facts

  • The impact of Ontario's coal closure plan will reduce Ontario's carbon dioxide emissions by up to 30 megatonnes, the equivalent to taking almost 7 million cars off our roads.
  • The volume of coal burned in an average year by the four OPG units slated for shutdown would fill the Rogers Centre 1.4 times.
  • For the first six months of 2009, coal production was down 51 per cent and wind generation was 80 per cent higher compared to the same period in 2008.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“With the closure of four more units at two coal plants, Ontario is taking an important step towards cleaning up the air we breathe. As physicians, we know that the pollution emitted by these plants can seriously affect our health and I'm pleased to see the government taking proactive measures to help protect Ontarians.”

Dr. Suzanne Strasberg

President, Ontario Medical Association

“This is a crucial year for action on climate change. By speeding up the implementation of what will be the largest single reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, Ontario is sending a clear message that this province is prepared to be part of the solution.”

Keith Stewart

Climate Change Director, World Wildlife Fund Canada

“Ontario is on the edge of creating one of the greenest and cleanest electricity profiles anywhere in the world. Delivering on our government's key commitment to eliminate coal, along with the Green Energy Act, will cement Ontario as a leader in renewable energy and conservation.”

George Smitherman

Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure

“OPG is committed to being one of North America's cleanest electricity generating companies. Phasing out coal generation will allow us to pursue exciting new generation opportunities such as biomass.”

Tom Mitchell

President and CEO, Ontario Power Generation

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Environment and Energy