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Ontario Shutting Down Two More Coal Units

Archived News Release

Ontario Shutting Down Two More Coal Units

McGuinty Government Cleaning the Air We Breathe

Ontario is permanently shutting down two more dirty coal-fired units at Nanticoke Generating Station, ensuring cleaner air and a healthier future for families.

As of December 31, Ontario will have shut down 10 of 19 coal units and cut the use of coal by nearly 90 per cent since 2003.

By the end of 2014, Ontario will be the first jurisdiction in the world to replace dirty coal-fired generation with more sustainable alternatives such as wind, solar and bioenergy -- the equivalent of taking seven million cars off the road. This is the single largest climate change initiative being undertaken in North America and will lead to savings of $4.4 billion a year in health care, environmental and financial costs.

Building a clean energy system that supports healthier families, a healthier environment and a healthier economy is part of the McGuinty government's plan to create and support jobs for Ontario families while ensuring we have the electricity we need to power our homes, schools, hospitals and our economy.

Quick Facts

  • By the end of 2011, Ontario will have closed four of Nanticoke's eight units.
  • Since 2003 Ontario has brought more than 9,000 megawatts of new and refurbished clean energy online - enough to power cities the size of Ottawa and Toronto.
  • Since its launch one year ago, Ontario's Long-Term Energy Plan has helped create over 20,000 new jobs, with 30,000 more to come by the end of 2012.
  • More than 30 companies have invested in Ontario's clean-energy economy including, manufacturers of solar and wind energy components, companies generating energy, and specialist engineering and service firms.
  • According to a 2008 study from the Canadian Medical Association, Ontario's economic cost related to air pollution, in terms of lost productivity, healthcare costs, quality of life and loss of life, is almost $4 billion.
  • Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is required to meet strict government-mandated greenhouse gas emission targets. For example, OPG must ensure that 2011 emissions are two-thirds less than 2003 levels.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“We are reducing harmful emissions and building a modern, clean, reliable energy system that families and businesses know they can count on to keep their lights on. We are ensuring a cleaner, healthier Ontario for current and future generations.”

Chris Bentley

Minister of Energy

“The air pollutants produced by coal burning have a negative impact on human health. By reducing the number of coal-fired units in the province, thereby reducing harmful emissions, it is expected that the incidence of adverse health effects related to coal burning will also be reduced.”

Dr. Arlene King

Chief Medical Officer of Health

“Ending the use of coal-fired power in the province will benefit the health of all Ontarians, in particular the 2.4 million Ontarians who have serious lung disease. Cleaner air means fewer children will need to go to the emergency room due to an asthma attack and fewer adults will be admitted to hospital due to flare-ups of their chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The Ontario Lung Association applauds the McGuinty Government for ensuring that Ontario becomes a coal-free province.”

George Habib

President and CEO, Ontario Lung Association

“Ontarians increasingly understand the need for clean air and are committed to taking bold steps to achieve this mandate. The Ontario government has responded. As a national health organization, we are extremely pleased with the unwavering commitment the province has made to ensuring the air we breathe is clean.”

Dr. Rob Oliphant

President and CEO, Asthma Society of Canada

“Ontario has taken a leadership position on climate change. At the very moment when Ottawa is killing Kyoto, Ontario is poised to be the first jurisdiction in North America to phase-out coal. Ontarians are very proud of this policy and want to see it completed as quickly as possible.”

Gideon Forman

Executive Director, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

“Ontario's doctors have long been concerned about the health effects of air pollution and welcome the initiative to shut down these units at Nanticoke. Coal-fired power plants are a significant source of the smog that results in respiratory and cardiac illness in our patients. The government's commitment to close the coal plants will improve air quality, both locally and across much of southern Ontario. Improving air quality prevents illness and ultimately saves on health care costs associated with that illness.”

Dr. Stewart Kennedy

President, Ontario Medical Association

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