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2014-04-15 at 17:02

Thunder Bay Generating Station burns last of its coal

By Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com
91.5 CKPRWin a backyard BBQ valued at over $1500 with Your At Play Station, 91.5 CKPRClick here

THUNDER BAY -- The Thunder Bay Generating Station is officially off coal.

The power plant burned its last scoop of coal April 8 and Ontario Power Generation's regional plant manager Chris Fralick said conversion activities at the station are underway.

"We're proud of our history of over 50 years providing reliable and safe electricity from Thunder Bay (Generating Station). While this closes the chapter on coal, we're proud of the past and we are looking forward to a greener future as we progress towards our advanced biomass conversion,” he said. 

About 45 employees received layoff notices in January, which take effect in one year.

Fralick said in that year employees have the option of leaving the organization or a job will be found for them within OPG that they may have to relocate for.

While the end of coal is a milestone for the station, Energy Task Force co-chairman Iain Angus said it isn't one to be celebrated.

"The fact we're losing 45 jobs to southern Ontario with a $4-million payroll hit to the community of Thunder Bay is not something to celebrate," he said, noting it's hypocritical for the the provincial government to crow about the event because they're still buying power from jurisdictions that's produced with coal.

The energy task force is worried the advanced biomass conversion will not meet the region's energy needs when nearby mines go online in the coming years and Angus said they believe the plant should be converted to natural gas, which will give it the ability to produce more than 300 megawatts of power; their plan also calls for no job losses.

The original conversion of the gas from coal to natural gas was halted in November 2012. The future of the plant was up in the air until November of last year when the province announced the plant will begin burning advanced biomass by 2015.

But Angus said there is no silver lining in this scenario.

The energy task force met with all the energy agencies two weeks ago in Toronto with the exception of the Ontario Energy Board.

"They are firm in their belief they know what's good for the Northwest," he said, adding they have no specifics in how they are going to provide the necessary power if northern mines go online.

"We're going to continue to push the government and the agencies to make sure they finally recognize what our needs are and the best way to meet those needs," Angus said.

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Arch Stanton says:
Quote: "Angus said they believe the plant should be converted to natural gas, which will give it the ability to produce more than 300 megawatts of power; their plan also calls for no job losses."

Does Angus REALLY believe it takes 45 personnel to open and close a gas valve?????
4/15/2014 5:16:10 PM
tsb says:
lol yes power plants are just turned off by light switches!!

I suppose the 25 jobs you think we'll lose are all the guys who shovel coal into the furnace?!
4/15/2014 8:36:17 PM
S Duncan says:
how do you think they turn on?

With a rope? ...Bump start? Magic??
4/17/2014 9:44:25 AM
dynamiter says:
This is what Ontario has to look forward too - only substitute burning less efficient wood pellets or very expensive Nuclear instead (Germany has banned Nukes after Fukishima).

All of the wind turbines, rooftop solar panels, hydroelectric and biogas plants in Germany have not reduced CO2 emissions in Europe by a single gram. Renewable energy and the coal boom are causally linked. The insane system to promote renewable energy sources ensures that, with each new rooftop solar panel and each additional wind turbine, more coal is automatically burned and more CO2 released into the atmosphere. German law stipulates that renewable energy always has priority in the grid. The price of electricity at noon used to be particularly high due to the large demand. Today, it’s often particularly low because large amounts of solar power are flowing into the grid. Subsidized and privileged solar electricity is forcing other power plants out of the market. Only cheap coal can compete on price.
4/15/2014 5:37:45 PM
progress now says:
Sounds a bit like tipping at windmills.
4/15/2014 5:55:47 PM
Kam River says:
The liberal brag that we are the 1st jurisdiction in North America to eliminate coal.
They are doing it at a cost of killing well paying jobs in the manufacturing sector, across the province moving well paying jobs away from Thunder Bay and worse cause residents of NWO to pay hydro rates that are unbearable for the average family.
Bill and Mike should be ashamed for allowing this to happen in our community.
4/15/2014 7:07:43 PM
SomeGuy says:
This notion that we can continue to burn things to create energy has to stop. No amount of scrubbers, pollution controls etc... can make coal "Clean".

Some of you talk about high energy costs and Germany, but look at Germany they pay very high energy costs but still manage to make things and they are the largest economy in Europe. They figured out a way why can't we?

They pay nearly three times that we pay for energy but yet they seem to make it work.
4/15/2014 9:06:12 PM
shortpeter says:
Germany has gone back to burning coal. Last year they brought online the first of 25 new coal plants they are building to replace nuclear. Also they will be burning brown coal , a very dirty and high polluting coal.
4/15/2014 9:30:32 PM
hotchoc says:
Yet again Mr. Angus is allowed to portray himself as some sort of hero instead of the cause. It was Mr. Angus and City Council that voted against the conversion of this facility. They stopped it 7 years or so ago. Why does the media give this guy the time of day for what he did to this city by opposing that conversion.

As for these jobs and coal etc. Mr. Angus please educate us voters on what the position is of the NDP on coal because some people may not know.

It is too close all coal generating stations in Ontario. Sounds familiar.

Mr. Angus plays the wonderful NDP game of blame the other guy for anything and everything.

it is a sad, a very sad testament to this city that he is allowed to say whatever he wants no matter how ridiculous and not be challenged on his words.

He stopped this plant from being converted. Lay the blame on his doorstep where it belongs. After that, we can thank him for his role in giving us Horizon wind. Another Mr. Angus gem.
4/15/2014 9:50:54 PM
mercy mercy me says:
those turbines would be spinning sans coal or gas if the hot air spewed by Angus and the Force could be harnessed
4/16/2014 3:32:52 AM
The Beaver..... says:
About 45 employees received layoff notices in January, which take effect in one year.
Whenever I got laid off it was right now.. not a year from now makes one wonder but what the heck just charge it to the Hydro bill
4/16/2014 9:41:04 AM
clearcutter says:
Only at OPG are employees guaranteed new jobs after layoffs, I wish I had that luxury every time I was laid off.
4/16/2014 10:04:40 AM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
One year notice? Sweet. 26 Full paycheques. Woot.
4/16/2014 9:07:33 PM
lori says:
clearcutter, I don't have a problem that these employees are being helped to get work but they have to move or leave. That is good business practice as long as their are openings etc.

My neighbour drives with a suspended licence. Should I.
My co-worker steals from work, should I.
My buddy treats his wife horribly, should I.

Just because Germany or China is burning coal, does not mean that we should not lead the way. It is coming. Maybe we are 2, 5, 10 years ahead of everyone else. Maybe it will cause us a bit of pain but the planet is dying.Change is inevitable or disaster is assured.

If we want our children and grandchildren to have what we had, it way past time to fix this mess. Maybe we cannot save the world, but we can make our piece of it better.

That is what we owe to our kids regardless of what others do.
4/16/2014 10:59:24 PM
anvil of crom says:
"If we want our children and grandchildren to have what we had"
THAT mindset is part of the problem.
True Generations to come some MAY say we had it best. Many cars in the driveway, large houses. We never walk anywhere due to cheap gasoline powered autos. Out of season food anytime, all the time.
Lower class people might not have all this, and fell poor but they are not starving!
It wasn't so long ago people all over this city had large backyard gardens, they canned for winter, they walked or took mass transit.
Saw those immense gardens when I was young , old immigrants tending them. Very few exist today because :we have it easy.
Our children will live in a different reality. Maybe no winter trips to punta cana, or cuba. No romaine lettuce or mandarins mid winter. They will walk, use mass transit live in smaller more energy efficient homes,use less,and have a good live,

and call it NORMAL.

but THEY WONT HAVE OUR LIVES.
4/17/2014 5:50:01 PM
mystified says:
Every household has 2 or more cars that spew C02 into the atmosphere. Most products are shipped by the 1000's of trucks that traverse the country where one train would haul 200 plus containers at a fraction of the pollution.
Forest fires and volcanos spew tons of C02 every day.
I think nature if anything will destroy this world as it is a living blob that seeks relief occasionally and someday will get nasty such as when Yellowstone Park blows and any living thing within 500 miles will be dead. That will create relief where an earth quake will destroy more parts of the world.
Bring back the coal and lets lessen the thievery by our government and utility companies.
4/17/2014 12:44:29 PM
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