Barrett bolstered by gas/grass lifeline to Nanticoke OPG CEO eyes at least 15 years of life for coal closure plants: report

For Immediate Release:
February 4, 2011

Simcoe – Reports of Ontario Power Generation CEO Tom Mitchell’s comments regarding plans and research to extend the lifeline of Nanticoke – and Lambton – coal plants are welcome news to Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett.

“Since the November release of Ontario’s latest long term energy plan, I’ve been seeking confirmation that government would make good on the direction to, ‘Continue to explore opportunities for co-firing biomass’, and ‘commence studies for of pipeline routes to supply Nanticoke with natural gas’,” Barrett noted. “While it would be nice for the Minister to tell us what they’re up to, Mr. Mitchell’s comments in today’s Toronto Star report seems to indicate refuelling of Nanticoke with biomass and/or natural gas is a possibility they are actively pursuing.”

Today’s Star article titled, Coal plants could burn gas, grass, noted that according to Mitchell, “the company figures there will still be at least 15 years of life in the plants once they’re ordered to stop burning coal.” The article further reported that, “OPG is starting to determine the costs and benefits of converting the coal plants to burn natural gas or biofuels, such as miscanthus grass, a giant grass that grows more than head-high.”

“While Mr. Mitchell’s comments are reassuring, I continue to contend that after waiting seven years under the cloud of coal and job closures, it’s time for the Premier to provide clear direction as to how government will repower Nanticoke,” asserted Barrett. “We have a wealth of experience and a dedicated work force in the making of electricity that cannot be ignored – I’m hopeful government is taking the logical steps to repower Nanticoke and tap into that valuable resource.”

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For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at
(519) 428-0446 or (905)-765-8413, 1-800-903-8629