Ontario's future dark without coal-fired plants: lobby group
Last updated Apr 10 2006 12:52 PM EDT
Hydro rates will climb significantly and job losses will follow if the provincial government proceeds with plans to shut down Ontario's coal-fired plants, says a lobby group for major power consumers.
"Under the current plan, electricity prices are going to rise by $3 billion a year and an average of 25 per cent per year," said Adam White, the head of the Association of Major Power Consumers, which released its report on Monday.
The Liberals plan to phase out coal-burning plants by 2009 and replace them with cleaner energy sources.
The association says that plan would cost 100,000 jobs in industries such as pulp and paper, nickel and steel, while Ontario's real gross domestic product could drop by as much as $16 billion.
The association conducted the research to try to gauge how much Ontario's energy policies, as put forth in a December report by the Ontario Power Authority, would cost consumers.
Ontario Power Authority, an organization established to study the province's electricity needs and propose solutions to avoid future shortages, has proposed the government invest $40 billion in replacing and building nuclear plants.
Its CEO, Jan Carr, says the association is ignoring key factors in its estimates.
"For example, a gas-fired plant or coal-fired plant is relatively cheap to build compared to a nuclear plant or a hydroelectric plant, but they have much higher costs of fuelling and operating,'' Carr said.
White argues that clean-coal technology could save the province money, and be environmentally friendly.
The Ontario Energy Board is expected to announce electricity rate increases on Wednesday that would take effect May 1.