It’s now down to one Ontario Power Gen plant still burning coal

Ontario Power Generation said Jan. 8 that its Nanticoke Generating Station on Lake Erie burned its last piece of coal on Dec. 31, 2013.

As part of Canadian province’s longstanding efforts to get off of coal for power generation, the company’s Lambton station, near Sarnia, stopped coal-fired electricity production in September 2013.

“Over the years, our staff ensured these plants were available when the province needed them. I want to thank them for their dedicated service, and thank the communities for their continued support,” said Tom Mitchell, OPG President and Chief Executive Officer.

The closure of the province’s two largest, coal-fired generating plants means most of OPG’s electricity production will come from nuclear and hydroelectric sources, making the company’s energy mix one of the cleanest in North America. More than 95% of the electricity produced by OPG will be carbon-free.

OPG’s Atikokan Generating Station stopped using coal in September 2012 and is being converted to use carbon-neutral biomass as fuel. It will be the largest 100% biomass-fueled generating station in North America and is expected to be in service in mid-2014. OPG’s Thunder Bay Generating Station will continue to use coal through 2014, when it will be converted to advanced biomass fuel.

The Lambton and Nanticoke generating units will be preserved so that they can be converted to alternate fuels in the future, if required, the utility noted.

The plants are:

  • Atikokan is located near the Town of Atikokan in northwestern Ontario. Prior to September 2012, the station produced approximately 200 MW, using low-sulfur lignite coal from Western Canada.
  • Nanticoke is located on the north shore of Lake Erie in Haldimand County, Ontario. Four of the station’s eight generators were previously retired. In January 2013, Ontario announced that the remaining four units (1,880 MW total) will cease using coal by the end of 2013.
  • Lambton Generating Station is located on the St. Clair River, 26 kilometers south of Sarnia, Ontario, across the international border from Michigan. In October 2010, two of the station’s four generating units were retired. The final two total 950 MW of capacity.
  • Thunder Bay is located in the City of Thunder Bay. In November 2013, the Government of Ontario announced that the plant would be converted to use advanced biomass as fuel. Conversion completion is targeted for January 2015. Its two operating units (306 MW total) burn coal from the Powder River Basin.
About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.