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2014-02-10 at 16:45

Natural demand

By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com
Substance UseAre you pregnant and struggling with addictions during pregnancy? Talk to your healthcare provider.www.mushkiki.com

The region’s energy advocates are demanding the Thunder Bay Generating Station be converted to natural gas by the end of 2016.

And if Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli doesn’t heed the call, Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association past-president Ron Nelson promised to make it an election issue.

Nelson was reacting to a letter to the editor Chiarelli penned earlier this month that stated the energy task force’s call for 75,000 tonnes of biomass on hand at all times is unreasonably high and would cost ratepayers significantly.

In his letter, Chiarelli went on to say that “no generation facility in the world plans for the incredible volume of surplus fuel being proposed by the (Energy Task Force).

The province has promised to supply 15,000 tonnes of biomass pellets a year for five years, until other sources of electricity are in place.

Nelson, also the mayor of O’Connor Township, said the frustration level is starting to grow. The generating station produced 34,128 megawatts in January alone, which using biomass would equate to burning 16,960 tonnes of pellets.  The latest figures show the plant would have burned 21,862 tonnes of advanced biomass to date in 2014.

Should the weather replicate itself down the road, the city would have been faced with rolling blackouts while facing record temperature lows.

“Which company has to go down in order to preserve that power, or do we have rolling blackouts throughout the city in the middle of January when it is quite substantially cold?” Nelson said. “So there are repercussions just here in the City of Thunder Bay that will impact dramatically.”

The problem will only get worse if new mines come on stream by decade’s end.

Mayor Keith Hobbs said the province’s answer just doesn’t cut it.

“Had we been using biomass, our supply would be gone by now. Since Jan. 7 the plant has been running full out and it’s just unacceptable. We can’t have our people freezing cold in these winters. And these winters could be the norm with climate change,” Hobbs said.
There’s also a financial impact to consider, said Coun. Brian McKinnon, a member of the energy task force.

The plant supplies about 110 jobs and pays the city $1 million in taxes annually. Another 100 or more indirect jobs come as a result of the TBGS, with the utility spending between $5 million and $6 million each year in the community for supplies and services. The payroll alone is $10 million.

“A lot of it is spent directly in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario,” McKinnon said.
“Any decision on the future of this plant must take this into consideration.”

Mayor Keith Hobbs said three successive energy ministers have failed the city trying to deal with the future of the plant.

He laid the blame at the feet of Chris Bentley, who halted the conversion to natural gas in 2012, saying the province could save $400 million. And though power need estimates have been significantly raised under Chiarelli’s tenure, Hobbs said the minister has either been mislead or is “choosing to mislead the North” on its power needs.

“We feel we have demonstrated the fuel will be consumed the fuel will be consumed,” Hobbs said.

The group intends to continue to push the province later this month at the Ontario Good Roads Conference.

 

 

Click here to submit a letter to the editor.

Click here to report a typo or error

Tbnewswatch.com(13)

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Comments

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Kam River says:
Leave it burning coal. It will mean our hydro rates will be way less

Oh, we can't use coat it is against the Liberal green policy.

It is time for the liberals and there policies to go.
2/10/2014 5:44:35 PM
progress now says:
Interest comment:

"Mayor Keith Hobbs said three successive energy ministers have failed the city trying to deal with the future of the plant.

He laid the blame at the feet of Chris Bentley, who halted the conversion to natural gas in 2012, saying the province could save $400 million."

Shocking observation from the mayor who doesn't like to point fingers - unless they are away from him.

Wasn't it Iain Angus' motion to kill the conversion of the plant and send that message to Queens Park?

Nothing of what the mayor said here can be helpful.
2/10/2014 8:34:45 PM
unheard says:
shouldnt it say mayor keith hobbs says the event centre will help
2/10/2014 8:48:16 PM
canada101 says:
Can someone please tell me where this gas supply is coming from? Nothing I've read explains this. And please tell me it is not shale gas.
2/10/2014 9:33:21 PM
Rbosch says:
@Canada101, the natural gas is NOT coming from shale gas. There is an abundance of Canadian made natural gas and that is why Trans Canada was constructing an expansion. A tap off to supply Thunder Bay GS was part of that plan, until a new Minister, Mr. Bentley, suspended the conversion, based upon advice from OPA.

The first time tnat TBGS was going to be converted to natural gas came at a time when natural gas was priced at a considerably higher price than the coal that was used to run the plant. Council opposed the conversion at that time, but it was halted by a Federal Department, which would not give permission to cross federal lands. The new plan does not do that and the two other big factors are that
1)natural gas is cheap and is indicated to remain so for a long time and 2)coal can no longer be used after December 31/14, by law. I hope this helps clear up some questions and/or confusion.
2/10/2014 11:24:05 PM
progress now says:
It was J J Greene who was then the federal energy (mines and resources) minister who told parliament that we had almost a thousand years supply of oil and natural gas and we should sell it all as fast and cheap as we can before alternate energy sources would render them valueless.

A year later the first energy crisis hit and we have never looked back.

No one can tell what energy prices are going to be in the future and that is the one and only truth about energy pricing.

It seems we have two competing evaluations of our energy needs. OPA is as dead certain of their position. The ETF is equally stubborn.

I for one would love a debate, Iain Angus vs a power official in a public forum where we can can see all the relevant facts and judge for ourselves.

Its long overdue in my opinion.



2/11/2014 12:18:40 AM
progress now says:
It was J J Greene who was then the federal energy (mines and resources) minister who told parliament that we had almost a thousand years supply of oil and natural gas and we should sell it all as fast and cheap as we can before alternate energy sources would render them valueless.

A year later the first energy crisis hit and we have never looked back.

No one can tell what energy prices are going to be in the future and that is the one and only truth about energy pricing.

It seems we have two competing evaluations of our energy needs. OPA is as dead certain of their position. The ETF is equally stubborn.

I for one would love a debate, Iain Angus vs a power official in a public forum where we can can see all the relevant facts and judge for ourselves.

Its long overdue in my opinion.



2/11/2014 12:20:18 AM
S Duncan says:
Why cant we just change the law?

Isnt the law made by the people and for the people?

If the stupid liberals didn't just pass feel good laws based on imaginary ideals we wouldn't be faced with any of that.

The solution is not to argue for or against natural gas and/or biomass.

The solution is to rewrite the law the way it was.

We don't have a drive clean program here for our cars like they do in Southern Ont because we have different rules and laws that make sense for us.

Why cant we do the same here?

could it be because liberals would have to admit they were wrong and acted foolishly? They do that all the time, but they'll never admit to it.
2/11/2014 5:37:20 PM
conker2012 says:
I think it is time to re-initiate the Northern Ontario Heritage Party. We do not have the support our region needs to succeed and the people in change don't seem to care about our region. If secession is needed we should consider it!

2/11/2014 11:53:18 AM
arjay says:
I do not see any mention of Bill Mauro in these comments. If His Party and He can Blow $1.1 Billion on a couple of votes, i,m sure He could get a couple of Grand for us Bushwackers to upgrade our facility to Natural Gas??????
2/11/2014 1:05:31 PM
averagejoe says:
The ETF and Hobbs have lost my support on this issue. If they were more honest with tax payers, I would find it easier to trust them.

For example, the Tbay thermal station has not been running anywhere near "full out". The average output so far since the beginning of 2014 is 45 MWh, or about 15% capacity.

Also, the likelyhood of rolling blackouts without this facility are nil. The energy supply, even in Northern Ontario, is dynamic and diverse.

For those concerned about the price of electricity, it's important to note that the conversion and operation of this facility on natural gas is a very expensive option. More cost effective ways of powering Northern Ontario exist, including new zero emmision hydro generation, and new infrastructure to import cheap, green energy from Manitoba.
2/11/2014 4:58:09 PM
canada101 says:
Thank you Rbosch for the information.
2/11/2014 11:52:50 PM
tudor says:
arjay, how do you know they even called mauro. if I was him i would be telling people like you to take a leap. he got the money to convert the plant. it was all done nice and pretty. only city council stopped it back in 2006. yeap the city of Thunder Bay stopped this conversion and you want to yell at someone else. The city caused this mess, let the city fix it. how could the city have been so dumb
2/12/2014 6:39:51 AM
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