Peat: solution for power-plant mercury pollution (June 25, 2006) – Stan Sudol

This column was originally published in the June 25, 2006 issue of Northern Life.

Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant who writes extensively on mining issues.

Due to pollution concerns, the recent announcement to keep coal-power plants open was not easy for the provincial Liberals, but Ontario is facing power shortages. They had no choice. It was a tough but pragmatic and responsible decision.

The government still plans to replace coal-fired generation as soon as possible without compromising electricity production. Unfortunately, one of the biggest drawbacks is mercury contamination.

Before the GTA’s Lakeview plant closed last year, Ontario’s five coal-fired stations produced about 527 kilograms of mercury which was almost one-third of all mercury emissions in the province.

The McGuinty government has been severely criticized for backing out of its commitment to the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to reduce toxic mercury discharges by 50 percent – now an unattainable goal. However, there is a solution for mercury pollution. Peat fuel – a biomass energy source-is abundant in Northern Ontario.

Read more

Energy Lessons for Ontario from Finland (March 26, 2006) – by Stan Sudol

This column was originally published in the March 26, 2006 issue of Northern Life.

Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant who writes extensively on mining issues.

The Ontario government is committed to closing the province’s four coal-fired generating plants by 2009 due to pollution concerns. This will eliminate 6,500 megawatts of power generating capacity, about 20 percent of production. These four power stations cost billions of tax dollars to build, and with regular maintenance, could continue running for decades. As a consequence, Ontario taxpayers will have to needlessly spend billions more to construct new gas-fired generating plants – powered with a very expensive source of energy that is in short supply.

We are entering uncertain times in a new globalized economy where reasonably priced energy is a key factor for investment decisions. Ontario’s manufacturing might is being put at risk with policies that don’t accommodate sensible and sustainable development of local energy sources.

Concerns about high sulphur and mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants are being cost effectively addressed around the world. Many jurisdictions significantly reduce these pollutants by co-firing coal with a variety of locally-derived biomass fuels.

Read more

Energy lessons for Ontario from the Irish Celtic Tiger (March 3, 2006) – by Stan Sudol

This column was originally published in the March 3, 2006 issue of Northern Life.

Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant who writes extensively on mining issues.

Ireland, well known as the “Celtic Tiger,” has become an industrial showcase for economists around the world. In the early 1970s, one of the most backward regions of Europe began a series of policy initiatives that transformed the country into a knowledge-based economy with a standard of
living higher than the United Kingdom and Canada.

One Irish initiative that could apply to Ontario was an energy policy committed to using indigenous fuel to help offset expensive imports of oil. That local energy source was peat fuel, and surprisingly the largest accessible deposits in the world are in Ontario.

Peat fuel has been a source of heat in Ireland for centuries. Its use for electricity started in the 1950s and supplied just under 40 percent of total power generation by the mid-1960s. Currently, peat fuel supplies about 12 percent of the country’s power needs. Last year, two new peat-fired power plants were opened at a cost of $570 million (US).

Read more

Peat Fuel Power in the Ring of Fire? – by Ian Ross

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. This article was published in the October, 2010 issue.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Peat fuel producer Peat Resources Limited eyeballs powering Far North mines.

A Toronto-based peat fuel pellet producer thinks he can provide a green source of power to mining companies currently operating off the grid in the Ring of Fire.

Peter Telford, president and CEO of Peat Resources, was making the rounds at last spring’s Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s annual convention, talking to companies like KWG KWG Resources and Cliffs Natural Resources of his ability to supply them with fuel for their future mine operations.

“If the Ring of Fire project proceeds and Cliffs wants to start processing chromite into ferrochrome for use in stainless steel, there will be a real power demand that (Ontario Power Generation stations in) Thunder Bay and Atikokan can’t supply.”

Peat Resources has an indicated and measured resource at its Upsala property in northwestern Ontario of 22.5 million tonnes of fuel-grade peat. The company has a small pilot plant there, where it has been optimizing its wet harvesting method and pelletizing technology.

Peat is a biomass that has been used for power generation in Europe. But it has been an uphill climb for the Toronto company to convince the Ontario government that the swampy material can be used as an environmentally friendly alternative fuel to burning coal.

Read more