The mayors of Haldimand County and Oakville are asking the province to consider moving a natural-gas-fired power plant planned for Oakville out of the GTA.
Mayor Marie Trainer of Haldimand County says her community is more than willing to accept the proposed plant in Nanticoke.
“We have the space, we have the lines, and we want it,” said Trainer. “Why put it near schools and subdivisions and senior homes? Bring it out to Haldimand County, where we have a three-kilometer buffer zone from residential areas around 4,500 acres of available land,” she said at a news conference Tuesday.
The new plant would help buffer the economic fallout in 2015, after Nanticoke’s coal-fire generating station is shut down, Trainer said.
Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Brad Duguid says the province is open to all options. “We take the suggestions seriously and we welcome them,” he said, without elaborating on whether it’s a proposal the province is willing to consider.
But the Ontario Power Authority says the proposal is not a cost-effective way to meet the energy needs of the southwestern GTA.
“It would require a new gas line to be built, which would cost $150 million, and additional transmission lines at $200 million,” said Kristin Jenkins, director of media relations.
A plant in Nanticoke would also be required to run for longer stretches, as opposed to the “peaker plant” proposed for Oakville, which would operate only during periods of high demand. The extra distance also means more energy lost through power lines.
Plans to build the plant in Oakville near schools, homes and a hospital have been mired in controversy since the site adjacent to the town’s Ford plant was chosen from four proposed sites in Mississauga and Oakville. Similar concerns have been seen in other areas where power plants are already under construction.
But the province says it’s a step that must be taken as it attempts to replace dirty coal-fired generating stations with greener ones closer to the areas of need within the next few years. The province aims to shut down the rest of its coal-fired plants, including the huge Nanticoke station on Lake Erie, by 2014.
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