Common Voice Northwest Electricity Draft Plan Released

OPG Generating Station
OPG Generating Station in Thunder Bay.

OPG Generating Station
OPG Generating Station in Thunder Bay.

Electricity in the Northwest is Critical

THUNDER BAY – The issue of electricity and Northwestern Ontario is not going away. “In our submission, we articulate the key role that the Thunder Bay Generating Station has in supplying the power that will be needed by the current and future mines in the north of Dryden area and go on to point out that it makes more sense to use an existing ‘bought and paid for’ asset with well trained staff rather that constructing new facilities at a cost of $1.2 million per MW,” says Iain Angus with Common Voice Northwest.

After 2 months of intensive review and consultation the Common Voice Northwest Energy Task Force has submitted its response to the Ontario Power Authority’s draft plan for Dryden, Ear Falls, Red Lake and Pickle Lake transmission and generation.

OPA and Thunder Bay Generating Station 

According to Energy Task Force Co-Chair, Iain Angus, “The draft plan is generally supported by the Task Force and the region; however, one clear failing is the ongoing position of the OPA that the Thunder Bay Generating Station has no role to play in providing energy to either the growth area north of Dryden  or the rest of the region”.

Co-Chair, Larry Hebert states, “It is essential that the Province speed up the process of developing needed new infrastructure into the Dryden north area. Since 1995, the Township of Pickle Lake has been telling the Government of Ontario ….. that their community has no access to sufficient energy, while Red Lake began communicating with the Government of Ontario…in 2007 about the need to enhance the service to the Red Lake-Ear Falls area, and in 2008 representatives of Musselwhite Mine, met with then Minister of Energy, George Smitherman to present their case for the construction of a new transmission line to serve the expansion of their mine.   This delay is unacceptable and Ontario must find a way to eliminate these planning barriers.”

Meeting Sought with Minister and OPA

Iain Angus indicated that as the submission has now been sent to the Minister and the OPA “The long promoted meeting between the Energy Task Force and the Minister can be scheduled and it is imperative that it happen sooner rather than later.“The Energy Task Force is working through Minister Gravelle’s office to make the arrangements for this crucial meeting. Minister Chiarelli has made it clear in the Ontario Legislature that he was waiting for our submission on the North of Dryden plan in order to finalize the Government’s intention regarding the Thunder Bay Generating Station.”

The Energy Task Force has asked NOMA and NOACC to distribute the report to their members requesting that they send letters or resolutions of endorsement to the Minister and the OPA. Thunder Bay Council will consider the request on Monday night.

The 51 page submission was distributed to the Minister of Energy, the CEO of the Ontario Power Authority and area MPPs earlier this week.

November 1 is the anniversary of the OPA’s announcement that the conversion of the Thunder Bay Generating Station to natural gas was suspended, pending further review by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and the Independent Electrical System Operator (IESO).

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