The mayors of Haldimand County and Oakville are asking the province to consider moving a gas-fired power plant planned for the Mississauga/Oakville border out of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Mayor Marie Trainer of Haldimand County went to Queen's Park yesterday to say that 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.
Trainer appeared before Mississauga councillors recently and received a ringing endorsement for moving the proposed plant to a community that is anxious to become its home.
The Oakville site, at 1500 Royal Windsor Dr., is less than 400 metres from the nearest residential community, a fact that has many residents concerned about the possible health risks of having a power plant that close.
The new plant would help buffer the economic fallout in 2015, after Nanticoke’s coal-fired 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.
"Transmission upgrades would be required in built-up areas of the GTA," said Jenkins. "There is a plan for Nanticoke conversion at the right time to increase electricity system capacity at some point in the future. It is not the right solution for current electricity needs in the southwest GTA."
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 Clarkson and Oakville.
But the province says it’s a step that must be taken as it attempts to replace dirty coal-fired generating stations over 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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