June 22, 2007

Ontario trying to phase out coal by 2009 or 2014

Here is a pdf that describes Ontario's efforts and progress to phase out coal energy usage by 2009 This is what a realistic phase out of coal energy proposal looks like. Although the Ontario government is backsliding somewhat on its commitment to eliminate coal usage. I am not aware of any other place that has significant coal energy use now which is implementing a plan to phase it out.

The official policy is currently to phase out by 2014. There is an election in Ontario on Oct 10, 2007. Current administration did break a promise to phase out coal by 2007 The incumbant Liberal Dalton McGuinty and Conservative leader John Tory are in tie in the polls.

John Tory's plan is to build more nuclear and other clean sources and clean up the coal

This coal energy phase out will reduce air pollution and save at least 657 lives per year.

Some articles on the coal phase out and the pollution reduction benefits of removing coal energy supplying 20% of the electricity.

Hat tip to NNadit at dailykos

Ontario's coal plants are responsible for:

36% of Ontario’s airborne mercury emissions;
28% of Ontario’s industrial smog-causing nitrogen oxides emissions;
23% of Ontario’s industrial smog-causing sulphur dioxide emissions; and
8% of Ontario’s industrial PM2.5 small particulate emissions that go deep into our lungs and cause asthma attacks, heart and lung diseases, strokes and premature mortality.

Coal Phase-Out will raise electricity bills by 34 to 53 cents per month

An Ontario coal phase-out would also save at least 657 lives per year in the province, according to an April 2005 report prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Energy.

Ontario has a population of 12.8 million people. The United States has 24 times the population and uses coal for 50% of its power. Assuming proportional coal air pollution effects then the US would have 60 times the number of deaths or over 39,000.

In 2006, Ontario has 6.4 Gigawatts of coal power and a total capacity of 31 Gigawatts. Some of the hydroelectric and other non-coal power sources will not be available during peak summer days.

The total coal free power on summer peak demand days is 22.14 Gigawatts. Various improvements that will be made have a projected 27.2 Gigawatts of peak summer power generation in 2009. From 2010 to 2012, they will add a bit more to 28.3 Gigwatts.

This will cover the expected peak demand of about 27 Gigawatts but not the 17% reserve margin.

So another 4 gigawatts of non-coal peak power is needed in 2010-2012.

There are various options.
The cheapest is to convert coal plants in Thunder Bay and Nanticoke to natural gas (70 million to 156 million per GW).
Add new natural gas for $600 -900 million per GW.

Restart the Pickering A unit 4 nuclear plant for $2.4 billion per GW.

Other alternatives are more aggressive conservation and demand management, more aggressive renewables targets, acquire more cogeneration resources and another natural gas option in Mississauga.


M. Simon said...

What is the capital cost of saving 700 people a year?

Could that capital be deployed where there is a greater return?

bw said...

Energy plant life is typically about 40-60 years.

So spending $400-1200 million on the lower for the natural gas options. would save about 26,000 people over 40 years. About $26,000-77000 per person.

For the 2.4 billion option of a new nuclear plant it would be 150,000 per person.

This does not include offsetting the costs with any carbon tax savings or from reduced people getting sick and the medical costs. It does not count less pollution (like acid rain) for less property and agriculture crop damage.

I believe that getting rid of air and water pollution (the mercury and arsenic etc...) pays for itself from reduced business costs from people being out sick or in hospital.

Coal plants also use over 1 million tons of coal each per year. This costs a fair bit of oil to move by rail and puts wear and tear and the rail which must get maintained.

So I think there is positive returns from eliminating coal usage. (medical and business savings)