Ontario coal-burning power plants to close this year – by John Spears (Toronto Star – January 10, 2013)

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

Ontario’s last coal-burning power plants will close by the end of this year, Premier Dalton McGuinty is expected to announce Thursday. The closure is either one year earlier than scheduled, or six years late, depending on your perspective.

The current deadline for closing the coal plants is Dec. 31, 2014 — which makes the new deadline a year early. But the McGuinty government had ridden into office in 2003 promising to close the coal plants by the end of 2007.

By that measure, the closure comes six years late. Closing the coal plants had been one of the Ontario Liberals’ signature promises, which they used to differentiate themselves from the Progressive Conservatives in the 2003 election.

“We’ll replace our dirty, outdated coal-fired electricity plants — the biggest source of air pollution in Canada — with cleaner burning natural gas, and renewable energy such as wind and solar,” McGuinty had vowed during the campaign.

Once in office, McGuinty found he couldn’t meet his 2007 deadline, as demand for power grew and Ontario struggled to keep the lights on.

The deadline was pushed out first to 2009, then eventually to 2014.

Announcing the closure now, weeks before McGuinty steps down as Liberal leader, finally brings the broken promise to rest.

Ontario Power Generation currently operates four coal-burning units at its Nanticoke generating station; four others have already been shut down.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Toronto Star website: http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1312865–ontario-coal-burning-power-plants-to-close-this-year