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Ontario’s first coal closures to take place by October 2010

Ontario is making progress on Canada's largest climate change initiative as Ontario Power Generation (OPG) prepares to close four coal-fuelled power units in 2010 — four years ahead of the 2014 target. This milestone was announced this morning and launches Ontario's 10 steps to transition the province to electricity generated from green energy which, the provincial government hopes, will open investment and opportunities in Ontario's green economy.

OPG will close two of eight units at its Nanticoke station near Simcoe and two of four units at its Lambton plant near Sarnia by October 2010. Together these plants represent about 2,000 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity. With the shutdown of Lakeview Generating Station in 2005, Ontario's in-service coal capacity will be reduced by 40 per cent since 2003, the government states.

Today's announcement puts the province on track to be one of the first jurisdictions in the world to eliminate coal-fired electricity generation. Since 2003, over 7,000 MW of new and refurbished generation have come online to ensure reliability, including over 3,700 MW of new natural gas-fired plants and over 1,200 MW of renewable energy. It also advances the province's vision for the Green Energy Act 2009, furthering the investment climate which will make it easier to bring renewable energy to life.

OPG will continue to assess converting its remaining 11 units to other types of fuel such as biomass, a renewable fuel source that could not only provide Ontario with renewable energy, but could provide an alternate use for existing coal plants, as coal is phased out in the years ahead. Atikokan Generating Station will be OPG's initial focus for transition to biomass by the target year of 2012.

"This is a crucial year for action on climate change," says Keith Stewart, Climate Change Director, WWF-Canada. "By speeding up the implementation of what will be the largest single reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, Ontario is sending a clear message that this province is prepared to be part of the solution. "