Ratepayers Not the Only Ones Burned by Liberal Seat Saver

The most expensive individual seat the Ontario Liberals have bought with future electricity ratepayer dollars is the northwestern riding of Thunder Bay-Atikokan. In the 2007 election, Liberal Bill Mauro beat out the NDP’s John Rafferty by a mere 50 votes. NDP support in the riding was growing as the Liberals had announced they were shutting down Atikokan’s coal fired generator. To avoid losing the seat, a very expensive idea was born — convert OPG’s Atikokan into a forest-fired generator.

The original goal was to have three pellet providers each providing 30,000 bdt/year to OPG. In the end, there were only two viable suppliers. Since there was no competition for providing the politically required fuel, Resolute and Rentech were able to extract a better price from captive ratepayers. The end result is a per unit cost that some estimate at over $0.60/kWh.

The good news for ratepayers and northern forests is that the facility is designed to run not more than 8% of the time, thereby capping the damage.

Since the costs were distributed over one seat, whereas the gas plant relocation costs were distributed over five or six seats, the cost per seat in Thunderbay-Atikokan appears to set the record.

I have tried to get Resolute and Rentech to cough up details on how much clear cutting they will do. For some strange reason, no response.

I have also been trying through questions on Twitter to get the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s Dr. Chris Wilkinson, whose Twitter handle is @eastern_wolf, to acknowledge that forest-fired power generation at Atikokan may impact at risk woodland caribou populations in southern areas of its historic range. Dr. Wilkinson has previously had an interest in at risk woodland caribou. For some strange reason, no response.

Tom Adams “@tomadamsenergy Nov 15
Q for @eastern_wolf: In your opinion is “biomass” harvesting in the Longlac area to fuel Atikokan GS hurting woodland caribou?

Tom Adams “@tomadamsenergy Nov 22
@eastern_wolf You’ve studied decline ON’s woodland caribou. Please share your view of impact of Atikokan GS biofuel harvest near Longlac.

Tom Adams “@tomadamsenergy Dec 19
@eastern_wolf Are you concerned that biofuel harvest near Longlac 4 Atikokan GS is harming at risk woodland caribou? http://ecoissues.ca/index.php/Conserving_woodland_caribou:_the_benchmark_for_Northern_sustainability “¦

Tom Adams “@tomadamsenergy Jan 28
Q for @eastern_wolf Is “biofuel” harvest near Longlac to supply Atikokan GS harming habitat of at risk woodland caribou?

Tom Adams “@tomadamsenergy Mar 27
Q 4 @eastern_wolf: Are you monitoring enviro impacts of forest-fired power generation in Ontario?

If by chance, this posting comes to the attention of Robert Smithers, I’d very much appreciate the opportunity to connect. Please feel free to use the “Contact Tom” button above.


  1. Clear cut the forests in the name of “Green” Energy.

    The 60 cents per kwh is also certainly unsustainable and not in the interests of economical impacts to the consumer The OEB is supposed to make decisions on the economics for the interest of the greater good. Our local food bank use increased by 30% in the last month alone. Energy poverty.

    The Atikokan seat saver program. Hmm , sounds like Oakville and Mississauga.

  2. The “master plan” for this “Enronesque” investment plan is working exactly as planned!
    First, create a Boreal Forest Reserve where humans aren’t allowed to settle, let alone continue to log or take trees for lumber production, virtually destroying the very industry that allows people to live and thrive there.

    Secondly, drive up the price of electricity so high that nobody can afford to even heat their homes let alone allow the various towns to attract Industry or even let existing Industry to exist.

    Then, nickel and dime the remaining poor souls with massive amounts of legislation that make even the smallest efforts to improve their lives like adding an addition or renovating their home so outrageously expensive that people just “give up” and move to an urban centre for a cheaper delivery of services.

    Once the various townships are “cleared” of these pesky humans, “have at it” with invitations to developers to “rape and pillage the land” for an unneeded and over inflated product like “Bio-Mass” generation.

    Once the forests have been “cleared” and burnt……….”adios and down to the Caymans” to count the money!

    Ontario has literally been DESTROYED!

  3. The mere fact that wood is even being considered anywhere as a renewable energy source just goes to show how desperate we’ve become. Renewable energy is such a joke if the goal is to power an industrial society.

    Wood is only sustainable if you own a woodlot and selectively cut trees to fuel a wood stove; otherwise you’re just “mining” forests rather than coal or gas.

    Looks like our forests and natural gas (our most economical and efficient heat source) are going sacrificed to “save the planet” from evil coal.

    • American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 96, Issue 3, Pp 851-861

      “Information Manipulation and Climate Agreement”

      “It appears that news media and some pro-environmental organizations have the tendency to accentuate or even exaggerate the damage caused by climate change.”
      Subscription required to read the whole article but some Ontario universities may subscribe to this journal.

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