Saturday, September 5, 2009

Putting Things in Perspective

Well, congratulations to Ontario's Liberals for finally putting together a plan to phase out those coal fired power plants that you had promised to get rid of by 2007. All you had to do was wait for the economy to sink so the electricity demand dropped. Sorry if I come across as really cynical but that's the truth.

Electricity demand is far below what the province is able to supply as shown in Figure 1. Moreover, demand is down from a peak of 27 000 MW three years ago to a minimum of 12 000 MW now. [link]

Figure 1: Electricity Supply (blue) to Electricity Demand (green) [link]

As for making Ontario a 'leader', excuse me to laugh. Quebec, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Manitoba all have been getting most of their electricity from hydro for years and so their coal consumption is minimal as in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Electricity Generation By Source By Province for Ontario, BC and Quebec [link]

Now this is not to say that I'm opposed to the replacing of coal with something better, but lets temper our enthusiasm with some reality. Moreover, when electricity demand increases in Ontario again, how much do you want to bet they will bring coal back or import electricity from the USA (which will probably be from coal). I'm not holding my breath.

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