Power Plant Decisions

Article by Kerstin Muth, member of Environment North, was first published in the Chronicle Journal on November 24, 2012.

The future of the Thunder Bay Generating Station has been experiencing a see-saw ride in recent years. A plan to convert from coal to natural gas was cancelled in 2006. Now another plan for conversion was put in jeopardy a few weeks ago.
It is a complex task to analyse all of the inter-dependent criteria involved, including future supply and demand, financial costs, system stability and emergency scenarios.
Another criterion in deciding the future of the Thunder Bay Generating Station is how it will be utilised and the resultant environmental impacts.
Currently, the main source of the region's electricity is hydroelectric with some wind, biomass, natural gas and solar. The maximum generating capacity is about 1000 Megawatts (MW), excluding coal which is to be phased out by 2014. The Northwest has a fairly green energy mix producing low levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) and toxic emissions. Planned biomass, hydroelectric and solar projects will increase maximum capacity to about 1300 MW.
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