Ontario Unveils Plan To Improve Air Quality In Southwest GTA
Targets Emission Reductions and Cuts Energy Use
Ontario is launching a plan to help improve air quality in the southwest Greater Toronto Area following concerns raised in the community. The measures are designed to reduce emissions as well as reduce industrial energy consumption.
Key components of the comprehensive plan include:
- The Ministry of the Environment is launching a new task force that will be required to develop and report back by the end of June 2010 on a detailed action plan to improve air quality through the reduction of emissions from local industrial, vehicular, and residential sources in the southwest GTA. It will include air quality improvement targets, timelines, strategies and reporting requirements.
- The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) will invest up to $30 million over five years on a new industrial energy efficiency program to reduce both electricity and gas consumption in the southwest GTA. The OPA is designing the new program with local electricity and gas distributors.
- Continuing to deliver major energy savings: The OPA is working to achieve 500 megawatts of conservation in the west GTA by 2014. That's equivalent to the power used by 5 million 100-watt light bulbs.
- Establishing a Working Group on Cleaner Energy and Industrial Efficiency with cement company Holcim Canada Inc., along with MEI and OPA, to examine cleaner industrial emissions, including the feasibility of various options related to demand side management, co-generation and fuel mix optimization, all with a goal of increasing efficiency and improving the plant's overall emissions profile.
- Maximize the potential of the new Feed-In Tariff in the southwest GTA by working closely with local distribution companies to find opportunities for renewable energy generation.
Since 2000, the Ontario government has been actively working with the community and scientific experts to address air quality issues in the area, including a four-part Clarkson Airshed Study. The most significant air quality improvement initiative was the closure of Mississauga's coal-fired Lakeview Generating Station in 2005, the equivalent to removing 500,000 cars from Ontario's roads. The government has also undertaken a number of specific initiatives in the Clarkson community, including working with the local industrial association on a plan for air quality monitoring, culminating in the building of two air monitoring stations now underway. It also established a website to provide the public with regular updates on the Clarkson airshed.
- Ontario's coal phase-out program is Canada's largest climate change initiative. It is equivalent to taking almost 7 million cars off Ontario roads.
- Under its Climate Change Action Plan, Ontario is committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to six per cent below 1990 levels by 2014, 15 percent below those levels by 2020, and 80 per cent by 2050.
“As an asthmatic, former health minister and a recreational runner, I know how important air quality is to lives of all Ontarians. I'm committed to creating one of the greenest and cleanest electricity profiles anywhere in the world.”
“The task force will develop a plan to achieve measurable improvements in air quality. Working with the local community, we can reduce the risks to our health, the health of our children and our environment from air pollutants.”
“We look forward to working with the community to target emission reductions while ensuring a reliable supply of power for homeowners and businesses. The initiatives will be the most comprehensive air quality program ever undertaken in Ontario.”