Back on April 16, 2014 there was a debate in the Ontario legislature on the conversion of the Thunder Bay coal fired power station to be fueled instead with biomass. In this exchange, the leader of the NDP, Andrea Horwath, takes a break from complaining about soaring power costs to demand more biomass power. Compare Energy Minister Chiarelli’s claim about the advice he received from his experts against a finding of the Auditor General on the same subject released last week.
Ms. Andrea Horwath: Experts have criticized the recent government announcement for a partial biomass conversion of the Thunder Bay generating station. They say that the biomass supply approved so far is too small to supply the energy required by northwestern Ontario, even in the short term, never mind the energy needs flowing from future mining developments.
Why was the government willing to waste $1.1 billion to hold on to their political power instead of the power needs of northwestern Ontario?
Hon. Bob Chiarelli: I have been working very closely with my colleagues from Thunder Bay, both Ministers Mauro and Gravelle. We have arranged meetings with the committee, the Ontario Power Authority and the Independent Electricity System Operator. They had all the technical people in the room. All the technical information indicated it was the right decision. It’s very doable.
And on top of it, Thunder Bay is the last coal generation in the province of Ontario””
Here is what the AG found:
Conversion of coal plant to biomass facility not cost-effective””The Ministry directed the OPA to convert a Thunder Bay coal plant into a biomass facility despite OPA’s advice that the conversion was not cost-effective. The Ministry cites facilitating economic growth and job creation in the forestry industry as its reasons for going ahead with the project despite the fact that this facility uses imported forestry resources that can only be purchased from outside of Canada. The cost of electricity from this facility is $1,600/MWh””25 times higher than the average cost at other biomass facilities in Ontario.
In this 2014 exchange, Energy Minister Chiarelli lied about the advice he received, knowing that the energy agencies he controls could never correct the record. Can you imagine working for such a person? How can the Premier keep Bob Chiarelli in cabinet?