Coun. Iain Angus.
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A game of political football over the region’s energy needs could be ending.
Members of the Common Voice Energy Task Force will meet with the Ontario Power Authority and the Independent Electrical Systems Operator Thursday in Toronto to try and close a 700 Megawatt gap in opinion.
The task force says a proposed mining boom will bring the region’s energy needs to around 1564 MW by 2020. The OPA thinks it’s closer to 850 MW.
OPA officials argue that some of the proposed dozen mines looking to be built aren’t as ready as the task force believes.
“At the end of the day, planning aside, it’s going to come down to a political decision because some of the rules the OPA has to deal with does not give them the same level of flexibility that we have,” said Coun. Iain Angus Wednesday morning. “They have to meet proven demand.”
The meeting, a follow-up to a similar one last month in Thunder Bay, will focus on the difference and try to reach a compromise.
“To see if we can come to some sort of mutual understanding as to what the needs of the Northwest are,” Angus said.
And while information has been passed back and forth for months since the announced suspension of the Thunder Bay Generating Station’s conversion to natural gas, Angus said he’s optimistic that the meeting will result in a compromise.
“We’re not saying we’re 100 per cent right but we don’t think they’re 100 per cent right either,” he said.
The task force will then meet with energy minister Bob Chiarelli in the afternoon.
Angus said the minister met with the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association earlier this week and then with the City of Thunder Bay separately about the issue.
“Part of our role tomorrow will be to give him a level of comfort that these mines are going to come on stream when we say they are,” Angus said.
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