The Ontario Clean Air Alliance said that the province could shut down all 6,434 MW of its remaining coal-fired capacity in 2010 if it canceled all its coal-fired power exports and operated at higher capacity factors the five natural gas-fired plants that will be coming online over the next three years.OCAA acknowledged, however, that those conditions would raise electricity rates in Ontario by 3.3%, but the costs would be outweighed by gains in air quality and public health.
OCAA said that canceling coal-fired power exports in 2010 will reduce Ontario's projected coal-fired generation by 50% and will raise rates by no more than 1%. Replacing the remaining coal-fired generation with generation from the new gas plants would raise rates another 2.3%.
Ontario's government originally had promised to shut down province-owned Ontario Power Generation's four remaining coal plants by the end of 2007. Later, it extended that deadline to early 2009 and then to the end of 2014.
"Advancing the coal phase-out date from 2014 to 2010 will save over 3,000 lives, prevent up to 1.6 million asthma attacks and provide 50 to 80% of the total greenhouse gas emission reductions Ontario needs to achieve compliance with its Kyoto Protocol target for 2010," said OCAA Chairman Jack Gibbons.