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Thunder Bay Coal Plant To Convert To Cleaner Power

Archived News Release

Thunder Bay Coal Plant To Convert To Cleaner Power

McGuinty Government Plan Will Ensure Reliable Supply, Improve Air, Create Jobs

Ministry of Energy

The Thunder Bay Generating Station will stop burning coal and convert to natural gas - a move that supports jobs in the community and takes the province another step closer to eliminating all coal-fired generation by the end of 2014. This will make Northern Ontario the first region of the province with existing coal plants to become coal-free.

The conversion of two coal-burning units at Ontario Power Generation's Thunder Bay plant will create 100 construction jobs and help protect jobs at the plant. It will be the first plant in Northern Ontario's history to be converted to natural gas.

The project, which is outlined in Ontario's updated Long-Term Energy plan, to be released later today, is expected to begin in 2011 and will be completed before the end of 2014. The converted plant is expected to generate up to 150 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, enough to power 15,000 homes each year. In addition, emissions from the plant will be cut in half.

Supporting projects that build a clean energy economy and create jobs for Ontario families is an important part of the McGuinty government's Open Ontario Plan to attract investment and provide cleaner air for our children and grandchildren to breathe.

Quick Facts

  • Northwestern Ontario's other coal-fired generating station, in Atikokan, is being converted to biomass. The project will be complete in 2013 and is expected to create up to 200 construction jobs, protect existing jobs, and generate 150 million kilowatt-hours of renewable power, enough to power 15,000 homes each year.
  • Natural gas plants have the flexibility to respond well when demand is high, functioning like a cushion in the electricity system.
  • Ontario is on track to eliminate coal-fired generation by 2014. This coal phase-out plan is the single-largest effort to reduce climate change in Canada.
  • In 2009, generation from Ontario's coal plants was at its lowest level in 45 years, and down more than 70 per cent from 2003.
  • Ontario is the first jurisdiction in North America - and one of the first in the world - to legislate the shutdown of coal-fired generation.

Additional Resources


Bill Mauro

“This decision, along with the conversion of the Atikokan Station to biomass, is great news for our community, for Ontario's economy and for the environment. In addition to protecting jobs at the generating station, the conversion to natural gas will create 100 construction jobs.”

Bill Mauro

MPP Thunder Bay - Atikokan

Brad Duguid

“This is an important milestone in Ontario's electricity history, and in the history of the northern Ontario economy, as we move to a coal-free province. By replacing dirty coal with cleaner renewable sources of power, we are bringing clean energy jobs to Ontario and giving future generations cleaner air to breathe.”

Brad Duguid

Minister of Energy

Michael Gravelle

“This is great news for Thunder Bay. I am extremely pleased that it aligns with the proposed Growth Plan for Northern Ontario and continued employment in the North's energy sector.”

Michael Gravelle

Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry

“This plant means a lot to Thunder Bay and I'm thrilled to see it will continue to play an important role in providing power to keep the city vibrant and providing jobs and economic benefits to local residents.”

Lynn Peterson

Mayor of Thunder Bay

“This is an ambitious project and we're confident Ontario Power Generation employees have the skill and expertise to realize this ground-breaking accomplishment. This plant has been part of the OPG fleet for more than 45 years and we're happy it will be re-powered. This is a memorable day for OPG and our employees, for the region and for the province.”

Frank Chiarotto

Senior Vice President, Thermal, OPG

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