ATIKOKAN – The ground has been broken in Atikokan. Construction is now underway to convert Atikokan’s Generating Station from coal to biomass, creating 200 construction jobs and helping to protect existing jobs at the plant. The plant’s conversion is the first of its kind in the province and is expected to be complete in 2014. The project will also create new economic opportunities for Ontario’s forestry sector, which will provide the biomass fuel to the plant. Demand for biomass pellets from the plant is expected to create or support an additional 200 jobs.
The converted plant will be one of the largest biomass-fired electricity generating facilities in the world. It will be able to deliver more than 200 megawatts of clean, renewable energy — enough to power 15,000 homes.
“Converting the Atikokan coal plant to biomass signals a bright future for this community and for the province. We are keeping energy jobs in the Town of Atikokan and creating forestry jobs in northern Ontario, while ensuring a cleaner, healthier Ontario for current and future generations,” stated Bill Mauro, MPP, Thunder Bay–Atikokan.
“We are transforming our electricity system, spurring new investment and creating jobs for Ontarians. Replacing coal-fired generation with cleaner sources of energy is an important part of the province’s plan to build a clean, modern and reliable electricity system,” added Chris Bentley, Minister of Energy.
“It’s exciting to see construction underway to convert the Atikokan plant to biomass. This project is not only providing more clean power to Ontarians, it is creating promising new economic opportunities and sustainable jobs for northern Ontario in the green energy and forestry industries,” enthused Michael Gravelle, Minister of Natural Resources.