THUNDER BAY – Without solid action, Thunder Bay could face rolling brownouts. The Ontario Government and the OPGA have yet to commit to what is happening to the OPG Generating Station in Thunder Bay. Larry Hebert, the Co-Chair of the Energy Task Force told NetNewsledger, “There could be rolling brown outs by 2015″.
Currently the OPG Generating Station is using coal.
Convert Thunder Bay Generating Station to Natural Gas
According to a Common Voice Northwest Energy Task Force report converting the Thunder Bay Generation Station to natural gas is the cheapest option available to provide much needed power to the Northwest.
The Energy Task Force had already determined that electrical demand in the Northwest will grow to 1600 MW by 2020 and in order to meet those demands the Northwest will need the enhanced East West Tie line AND a fully operational Thunder Bay Generating Station plus some additional generation or supply.
“The rate payers of Ontario have bought and paid for the existing infrastructure of the Thunder Bay Generating Station. The cost of converting this vital northwestern Ontario infrastructure is approximately $95 million. It would cost 4 times as much – $408 million – to build new generation with the same capacity of 306 MW” said Energy Task Force Co-Chair, Iain Angus.
“In addition, the cost of operating a converted Thunder Bay Generating Station, while greater than it cost when coal was the fuel, will be one quarter what the Ontario Government is paying to purchase power from large solar projects and 83% of what Ontario is paying for wind power. The irony is that dispatchable generation, like that produced by the Thunder Bay Generation Station, is needed to replace solar and wind power when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind fails to blow” said Angus.
“As the conversion of the TBGS will ensure that the majority of the proposed mines can enter the production phase, Ontario will be assured that their investment in the conversion and the ongoing operation will be paid back – in spades! The combination of the direct and indirect tax revenue and the rates paid by the mine operators will ensure that Ontario will be farther ahead than if the Government fails to ensure the permanent operation of the Thunder Bay Generating Station” said Co-Chair Larry Hebert.
This latest report by the Energy Task Force will be rolled into a document that will be submitted later this month to the Minister of Energy as the Northwest’s comprehensive response to the suspension of the conversion as well as the long term needs of the region.