The Ontario Ministry of Energy said in a Sept. 12 statement that the prior day, Ontario Power Generation’s Atikokan plant burned its last piece of coal.
Conversion of Atikokan from coal to biomass is now underway. This project will create 200 construction jobs and help protect existing jobs at the plant. The project will also create new economic opportunities for Ontario’s forestry sector, which will provide the biomass to the plant, the ministry noted. The converted plant will be able to deliver more than 200 MW of renewable power by the end of 2014.
The province has now shut down 11 of its 19 coal units and cut the use of coal by nearly 90% since 2003. Ontario Power Generation, under a provincial greenhouse gas reduction mandate, plans to phase out its last coal-fired capacity by the end of 2014. Since 2003, Ontario has brought more than 10,000 MW of new and refurbished clean energy online – enough to power more than 2 million homes, the ministry said.
OPG had announced on July 19 that it is proceeding with construction of the C$170m project to convert Atikokan to biomass. AeCON was selected for design and construction of the fuel handling and storage systems and Doosan for the combustion modifications.
The Atikokan plant is located near the town of Atikokan in northwestern Ontario. It has one, 211-MW unit, which up to now had used low-sulfur lignite coal from Western Canada as the fuel.