November 15, 2013

Mauro and Gravelle Announce Province Converting Thunder Bay Coal Plant to Advanced Biomass

Ontario will achieve its goal to eliminate coal-fired generation before the end of 2014.

Over the next year, the Thunder Bay Generating Station (TBGS) will stop burning coal and be converted to use advanced biomass as fuel for electricity generation.

TBGS, which is operated by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), will be the first advanced biomass station in the world that was formerly a coal plant and will have a five-year contract to generate electricity. The modifications to the plant will begin in 2014, and it is expected to be operational in 2015.
Eliminating coal-fired generation and protecting the environment while providing clean, reliable and affordable power is part of the government’s plan to invest in people, build modern infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate across Ontario.


“The conversion of the Thunder Bay Generating Station to burn advanced biomass will ensure Thunder Bay has access to clean, reliable power. This initiative will leave a healthier environment and cleaner air for our children and grandchildren.”

— Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy

“Northwestern Ontario is on the leading edge of some very exciting new mining and forestry developments and I am pleased, both as MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North and as Minister of Northern Development and Mines, that our government is taking action to support healthy communities while ensuring important energy needs are met. By moving off coal and converting the Thunder Bay Generating Station to advanced biomass we are cleaning our air and supporting local jobs. Certainly I am pleased that our government found a solution that will continue to serve the needs of the region.”

— Michael Gravelle, MPP, Thunder Bay-Superior North

“In 2003 all three political parties committed to closing all coal fired generation in Ontario. No one, however, was discussing the potential conversion of those plants or the impact a closure decision would have on the host communities. I want to thank Minister Chiarelli for his support as today marks the end of a long effort to maintain the two plants in my riding of Thunder Bay-Atikokan to our benefit here in Northwestern Ontario.”

— Bill Mauro, MPP, Thunder Bay-Atikokan


– By 2014, TBGS will be the last coal-fired generating station operating in the province.

– Ontario closed Lambton Generating Station in October 2013 and will close Nanticoke Generating Station by the end of 2013.

– Advanced biomass is a renewable fuel derived from forest or agricultural sources that has similar characteristics to coal. It has better transportation, storage, and combustion characteristics than traditional biomass.

– Advanced biomass emissions contain about 75 per cent less nitrogen oxide than coal emissions and virtually no sulphur dioxide.

– In September 2013, Ontario Power Generation conducted a successful test burn using
100 per cent advanced biomass, which was the first of its kind in the world.

– Replacing coal with cleaner generation, renewables and conservation is one of the largest climate change initiatives in North America.

For more information:

Bill Mauro, MPP
Thunder Bay-Atikokan
(807) 623-9237

Maya Gorham
Office of Honourable Michael Gravelle
(416) 327-0655