Tbnewswatch Local News
Monday July 6 2015
7:22 AM EDT
2014-01-27 at 14:35

More fuel?

FILE -- Iain Angus, co-chairman of the region’s Energy Task Force.
FILE -- Iain Angus, co-chairman of the region’s Energy Task Force.
By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com

The co-chairman of the region’s Energy Task Force says a proposed provincial biomass allotment for the converted Thunder Bay Power Generating Station isn’t large enough.

Iain Angus on Monday said he wants the province to increase the amount of pellets on hand at any given time from 15,000 to 75,000 tonnes and replenish the pile any time it sinks below the new threshold.

At present the plan in place would see the generating station supplied with 75,000 tonnes of pellets to start, with 15,000 tonnes a year replenished under a five-year contract.

Angus said had that been the case in 2014, the plant would have burned through its annual allotment in a matter of weeks dealing with increased demand due to cold weather.

And with several mines slated to come on stream by decade’s end, the problem is only going to get worse.
He pointed to Manitoba, where 4,000 people are without natural gas heat after a pipeline explosion.

“We will be in that same situation. Until we’ve got the east-west tie in place, we will not have enough power in the Northwest to deal with issues like this severe weather,” Angus said.

A similar situation could arise when warmer weather hits and drought conditions arrive, potentially hurting the region’s ability to produce hydro-electric power.

According to figures provided by the Energy Task Force, the generating station has produced 30,047 megawatt hours of energy in 2014.

Angus said 15,000 tonnes of advanced biomass would produce between 25,000 and 30,000 megwatts, an entire year’s supply.

“It is interesting to note that the 25,000 target was met at noon on Jan. 25 and only took an additional 28 hours to reach the higher target of 30,000,” he said.

The province initially halted conversion of the TBGS to natural gas, saying it could save $400 million in the process, adding the power just wasn’t needed in the region. The province then compromised, approving a temporary shift to biomass to fill the gap until the enhanced east-west tie line is constructed.

The task force countered that the 80 megawatts growth being projected by the Ontario Power Authority between now and 2020 was way off, figures the province ultimately agreed with, upping their projections as high as 500 megawatts.

“We’ve proven to them that our information is much more accurate than theirs and they’ve got to start listening to the experts up here in Northwestern Ontario.”

Thunder Bay Generating Station management was contacted but were unavailable to provide comment.

Click here to submit a letter to the editor.

Click here to report a typo or error



We've improved our comment system.
Rbosch says:
@progress, I hope that the info. I have shown above is sufficient to answer some or all of your questions. I have been able to get a copy of the backgrounder info, but am not able to post it here. If you wish to contact me, with your actual name, so that I would feel comfortable giving it to you, I can share it with you. You seem genuinely interested in the subject. Send me a FB friend request, under Rod Bosch
1/29/2014 11:04:41 AM
progress now says:
Thanks for your help. I am not on facebook. The Dryden analysis is on the net. Take a read. Tell me if it doesn't smack of a political treatise as well - which doesn't mean we dont look at the numbers, but it doesn't supoort a case for objectivity.

I will try the public libraries for the ETF report as well as look to provincial sources for their position. We hear much of the ETF position, but the OPA view is not presented with the same PR - so the ordinary citizen is tapping in the dark a bit.

Thank you so much for your impartial and sensible contributions.

1/30/2014 2:16:21 PM
RBosch says:

This link is what the Energy Task Force has based its position on. From there, announcements came forward that basically ignore any and all input re: TBTGS and also put restrictions on its ability to produce MW's. The ETF has made several presentations in rebuttal, but so far, none have been responded to.

The ETF has also made responses to the North of Dryden supply issues, as well as the proposed expansion of the East West tie Line and they are working diligently to portray the concerns of all of Northwestern Ontario.

The Energy Task Force is a sub committee of a formal Common Voice Northwest committee of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association, which represents 37 Municipalities in Northwestern Ontario.

I will see if the ETF has posted its reports to anywhere accessible.
1/29/2014 10:34:57 AM
RBosch says:
I will see if I can get the ETF report link posted here.

Referring back to question 1., the projections spoken of refer to what would have happened should the TBTGS Generator been converted to the Advanced Biomass supply, rather than to the coal, as it is today. The OPA and the IESO have determined that they only need Thunder Bay TGS to supply 2% of its capacity, therefore they only need 15K tons of the Biomass. They have determined they will only need this supply for 5 years, so they are going to contract for 15K Tons/year, for 5 years, which is when the Tie Line capacity is supposed to be increased. There are also restrictions placed on when the TBTGS Unit can be run and not run.

What they do not seem to account for is a projected increase of approximately 700MW of load by 2020, which pretty well wipes out the benefits of the new tie line and does not allow for any further expansion.

I am sure you know this is a very complex issue and can't be covered here.
1/29/2014 10:11:25 AM
RBosch says:
1. in the near term, certainly until late 2018, if Thunder Bay TGS is not available, it increases the difficulty of supplying the Regional load, via either internal sources or importing on the East/West Tie lines. Should there be any shortfall in our ability to supply that load, be it not having enough water to supply about 680 MW of Hydraulic generation or the failure of equipment designed to carry the load, from transformers to the circuits, we would/could be in trouble without Thunder Bay. Therefore, why would we deliberately put ourselves in that position?

The ROF will have an impact, but it is not the size of the projected load, but rather, the longevity of that load. There are more than one other mines located throughout the Region that have projected to need 100 MW of load each, and all are projected to come in service, hopefully before 2017, but with insufficient load support, that can't happen. That is of great concern to the ETF.

1/29/2014 10:01:22 AM
RBosch says:
Read the article please. The total commitment is for 5 years at 15,000 Tons per year, for a total commitment of 75,000 Tons. That is the government's plan, but what the Energy Task Force is requesting is the full 75,000 Tons be committed up front, in the first year. This would allow for a buffer should some unforeseen catastrophe occur. One thing is not mentioned; the plant has already been reduced to 50% capacity, as G2 Unit is being mothballed, resulting in a capability of 150 MW. The Capacity to supply would be 1.3 Million MW hrs. if it could run all year round, but the biomass supply being contracted for would allow for the supply of only 30,000 MW hrs., or 2% of the unit's capacity.

The 5 year window brings us to the timeframe that the East West Tie expansion from 350 MW to 650 MW is supposed to take place, but it does absolutely nothing to accommodate the planned regional load increase of nearly 850 MW in that same timeframe. These are the arguments the Task Force has.
1/28/2014 6:37:49 PM
progress now says:
Thanks for your response.

Actually there was a logical contradiction in the article which the paragraph I quoted to you suggests.

These are no small issues being discussed. So that everyone understands and is on the same page would you know -

1) If the Thunder Bay Generating station was off line, is it a certainty and is the task force saying we would have been out of power through the cold snap? We couldn't have got the power another way - full stop?

2) About the projected increased usage - Angus refers to the ROF. Is he attributing all or part of the increased demand to ROF mines? Is he saying the generating station will be supplying ROF?

3) Is a copy of the task force report on the net?

Thanks in advance if you can answer. You seem to have a good handle on this from the task force perspective.
1/28/2014 8:22:32 PM
Rbosch says:
Facts are facts. The supply contract for 15,000 Tons of advanced biomass equates to approximately 30,000 MW hours of production. Thunder Bay Generating Station has generated that 30,000 MW hours in less than one mnth, largely due to the need to support the cold weather load. Perhaps some of the new biomass was burned in that timeframe, in tests, but you don't run a genrator when you do not need it, just for the sake of running it. The powers that be have been steadfast in their belief that 15K tons is good and all the task force is asking to occur is to advance the purchase of the projected 5 year total of 75,000 Tons in one move, so there can be some sort of assurance that there is sufficient generation in place to maintain loads such as redidential and industrial. If the Council of the past, of whom Mr. Angus was a member at the time, originally did not want Thunder Bay GS converted to gas, there may have been a good reason. Space here does not allow that to be added.
1/28/2014 11:59:57 AM
progress now says:
The article states:

"At present the plan in place would see the generating station supplied with 75,000 tonnes of pellets to start, with 15,000 tonnes a year replenished under a five-year contract."

Is this not true? I don't understand what you mean by advance the 5 year total. Does it not begin with what equals a five year total, replenished annually by 15000 tons?

I may be missing something...
1/28/2014 2:42:49 PM
Eastender says:
Or we could just dismantle the whole thing and sell it to China after the east west tie is completed. There now that would reduce coal emmissions, would'nt it?

Or not.
1/28/2014 9:33:40 AM
livewire says:
Ian thinks this is our only source of power in the north. Ian is trying to build a mountain out of a mole hill. Time for him to retire and get on with life.
1/28/2014 8:05:00 AM
trevor99 says:
I am not sure why we only get half of the story.

It was Mr. Angus who led the charge against the conversion of this facility some years ago. He is the reason this plant was not converted. Now he wants to be at the front trying to save it. Fine but can you please cover off both points in your story and not just one.

I want this facility fully converted and operating full time. I want the jobs and the tax base to remain and I think it is important for Thunder Bay.

As for why it is closing. Because every party in Ontario said so, that's why. We can cry in our soup, but the Liberals are closing coal, the tories are closing coal and the NDP are closing coal. It is not more complicated than that.So the emotional blundering you outline is attributable to all political leaders of all 3 parties who don't want to lose the environmental vote it seems. At least Mauro and Gravelle kept this one open and Mauro got the other one in Atikokan converted. Positives in a bad choice by Ontario 3 leaders
1/28/2014 12:21:49 AM
S Duncan says:
If only we could just keep the coal plant as it is.

We're going to do more harm to the environment with this whole conversion and perpetual nonsense than if we just leave it as it is and run it when we need it. Exactly how it is now.

Why did the liberals set goals that never made any sense?

oh I know.. because they're liberals. They never use facts to make a decision, only emotional blubbering.
1/27/2014 10:11:45 PM
averagejoe says:
Don't believe the numbers provided by Angus et al.

Looking instead to factual historical figures, total output for 2013, the station generated 30,930 MWh. This can be generated with just over 15,000 tonnes of biomass. The current contract is for 75,000 tonnes, PLUS 15,000 annually, more than enough...

Also this month the station has been running, and generated about 26,000 MWh, but not exclusively as a result of cold weather demand. The station is running scheduled biomass test burns.

The "experts" in Northwestern Ontario need to be more honest with the public.
1/27/2014 9:17:40 PM
ring of fire dude says:
Is Ian Angus now a lobbyist for the forest industry also ?
1/27/2014 7:31:50 PM
Comments for this story are semi-moderated. Read our comment guideline.

Add a new comment.
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Log In