Ontario to be coal-free by the end of 2013

Ontario to be coal-free by the end of 2013

January 19, 2013 0 By Tami Hood

Coal-Free Ontario

Ontario moves to close coal-based energy production

Canada has been working to obliterate its use of coal recently. The country has adopted an intense interest on alternative energy, both for economic and environmental purposes. Now, the province of Ontario is expected to be the first North American government to be virtually coal-free by the end of 2013. The province has recently shut down an entire coal fleet, a move that has garnered the local government praise and extreme criticism.

Government poised to close last two coal power plants

The provincial government has announced that it will be closing the last two of Ontario’s coal power plants this year. The government had initially planned for these facilities to be shut down at some time in 2014, but Ontario officials are eager to make a quick transition away from fossil-fuels. Once these power plants are closed, coal will account for only 1% of the province’s total energy generation. Coal will be used as a back-up power source once these facilities are closed down.

Closure of plants could save $4.4 billion in annual costs

Ontario officials believe that coal is a major contributor to severe health problems and environmental damage. Breaking free from coal is expected to save the province some $4.4 billion in annual costs that are associated with health and environmental issues. The closure of Ontario’s last two coal plants is part of the Green Energy Act, which was launched in 2003. The initiative aims to lower the emissions seen throughout the province. Since the initiative was launched, sulfur dioxide emissions are 93% lower and nitrogen oxide emissions are 85% lower than what they had been in 2003.

Ontario likely to fill void left by coal with alternative energy

Closing the province’s last two coal plants will create and energy gap in Ontario. This gad is expected to be filled using alternative energies, such as solar and wind power. Nuclear energy makes up a significant amount of the province’s current energy portfolio. There are some concerns regarding nuclear energy, but the provincial government has not announced any plans to decrease its use of nuclear power.