Thunder Bay OPG Burning Coal Free

Minister Michael Gravelle and Minister Bill Mauro
Minister Michael Gravelle and Minister Bill Mauro

OPG Generating Station
OPG Generating Station in Thunder Bay.

Coal Fired Power in Ontario is Over

THUNDER BAY – Ontario is now the first jurisdiction in North America to fully eliminate coal as a source of electricity generation. The Thunder Bay Generating Station, Ontario’s last remaining coal-fired facility, has burned its last supply of coal.

Minister Michael Gravelle and Minister Bill Mauro
Minister Michael Gravelle and Minister Bill Mauro announcing the move to enhanced bio-mass.

Operated by Ontario Power Generation, Thunder Bay Generating Station was the oldest coal-fired station in the province. 

Announcement in November


The plant is scheduled to be converted to burn advanced biomass, a renewable fuel source. The province has replaced coal generation with a mix of emission-free electricity sources like nuclear, waterpower, wind and solar, along with lower-emission electricity sources like natural gas and biomass.

NOMA and Common Voice Express Concern

The move to bio-mass rather than to natural gas has raised concerns in Thunder Bay. NOMA and Common Voice Northwest, and the City of Thunder Bay have all expressed concerns.

Energy for Northwestern Ontario Iain Angus NOMA by netnewsledger
The enhanced bio-mass, according to sources, will come from Norway by ship.
The Ontario Government is celebrating. “Ontario has fulfilled its commitment to end coal generation in advance of its target of the end of 2014. A coal-free electricity supply mix has led to a significant reduction in harmful emissions, as well as cleaner air and a healthier environment”.

QUICK FACTS

  • Thunder Bay Generating Station came into service in 1963;
  • Converting the station to advanced biomass will retain 60 jobs in Thunder Bay;
  • Last year, Ontario introduced the Ending Coal for Cleaner Air Act, which would ensure coal-fired generation as a source of electricity in the province never happens again.

Since 2003, Ontario’s coal closure plan has eliminated up to 30 megatonnes of emissions annually. The closure of Thunder Bay Generating Station marks the end of coal fired emissions from electricity generation in Ontario.

According to a 2005 independent study, “Cost Benefit Analysis: Replacing Ontario’s Coal-Fired Electricity Generation,” the estimated cost of coal generation was approximately $4.4 billion annually when health, environmental, and financial costs were taken into consideration