Sunday, November 16, 2008

We Need Canada to Listen to the People About Energy and Our Future

Canadian Mayors Letter to ObamaPosted: January 23, 2009 Section:
President Barack ObamaThe White House1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NWWashington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama,
On behalf of Canadians living in cities large and small, we write to you today as Canadian municipal leaders. We look forward to working with you and our American municipal counterparts to promote a strong and sustainable low-carbon economy.
We are writing to ask for your leadership in confronting global warming and adopting a low-carbon fuel standard. By providing a stimulus for alternate technologies, this approach will help to create new economic opportunities while at the same time protecting the environment.
Municipalities have been at the forefront of Canadian efforts to combat global warming and build strong and sustainable industries. Municipal initiatives to cut emissions are actively contributing to Canada’s Kyoto Protocol target to cut emissions to six percent below 1990 levels by 2010.
Unfortunately, Canada is failing to meet its Kyoto commitments, in large part due to the development of the tar sands..........continued in url below

The battle over new nuclear and green energy is heating up. One of those battlegrounds is a tiny village, home to North America's largest coal-fired hydro station.

14/11/2008 3:29:00 PM

by Staff

What the nuclear heck is going on in Ontario? A lot of people are asking that very question. One minute, Bruce Power, a private company which already operates an existing nuclear power plant in the province, announces the first steps in what could lead to a new nuclear power plant being built 90 minutes south of Toronto. The next minute, the provincial government issues a release distances itself from the plan.

So what's really going on? Well, it likely has everything to do with how Ontario plans to replace one of North America's most infamous coal-fired generating stations. Ontario's Liberals have promised to close all coal-fired generating stations in the province by 2014. That includes the Nanticoke Generating Station, long a target of environmentalists fighting dirty emissions. Trouble is, Ontario's government hasn't announced what it will replace the Nanticoke station with. That's key because the Nanticoke hydro plant produces enough electricity to power millions of homes. It's also the starting point for a major power transmission corridor that feeds that electricity to major urban areas. The province simply can't abandon that power transmission corridor and build a new plant and comparable hydro line network elsewhere -- at least, not anywhere near the vast new development-restricted Greenbelt area of southern Ontario.

The future of electricity generation in Ontario is very much under the microscope. The Ontario Energy Board is holding hearings on the province's proposed 20-year hydro plan. The outcome will determine whether Ontario will emphasize nuclear, renewables or a combination of both. The Pembina Institute and a coalition of environmental groups are calling on the province to not replace aging nuclear facilities or build new nuclear plants such as the one proposed in Nanticoke. Instead, they want an emphasis on green energy. The groups point to a recent survey which showed two thirds of Ontarians prefer to see aging nuclear stations replaced with renewable energy sources, including wind and solar, rather than new nuclear reactors. Ontario has said that renewable energy sources will help replace coal-fired generation in Ontario, but a specific plan for Nanticoke has not been made.

Enter Bruce Power and its proposed nuclear reactor for an 800-acre site. The company has begun an environmental assessment – a federally required step – before a licence to build a nuclear plant can be issued. If successful, a nuclear plant could be generating electricity by 2018. The Nanticoke area, a tiny village next to a large industrial park on the shore of Lake Erie, and its two main counties have been growing nervous ever since the Liberals pledged to close the existing hydro generating station. They're worried about the potential to lose hundreds of jobs, taxes and spinoffs if the coal-fired station in their isolated rural area is closed in 2014 and nothing replaces it. Two municipal councils, and Federal Human Resources Minister Diane Finley are backing Bruce Power's bid to build a nuclear station in Nanticoke.

The provincial government quickly countered Bruce Power's recent announcement saying it "has not encouraged or solicited a proposal to build a nuclear generating station in the Haldimand-Norfolk region." The province said Bruce Power's "course of action is speculative."

Bruce Power, also eyeing potential nuclear power startups in Alberta and Saskatchewan, says it will also study building what it calls a 'clean energy hub' involving wind, solar and hydrogen energy in Nanticoke.

Could this be the eventual solution for what the province has in store to replace the coal-fired Nanticoke Generating Station site?

Here is the shocking reality in Ontario: Unless enough new hydro generation – whatever the energy source is -- comes on stream in the near future, hydro demand will surpass supply once the province's coal-fired hydro plants are shut down in 2014. If that happens, Ontario may be forced to do what it has in the past to meet demand: buy power from the United States produced by, you guessed it, coal-fired hydro plants.

So, will Ontario eventually endorse Bruce Power's bid for a new nuclear power plant on the shore of Lake Erie, less than 90 minutes from the major urban areas of Niagara and Toronto? Possibly. The government hasn't exactly said no -- if you read between the lines.

One thing is for certain: Ontario needs a significant power generation strategy for Nanticoke, purely because of the vast hydro transmission corridor. And Bruce Power thinks it has the power and now the plan to address it – even if the Ontario government isn't quite ready to acknowledge it. is Canada's green outpost for green jobs

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PHOTO SOURCE: Nanticoke Generating Station, Ontario Power Generation

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