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ENERGY PLAN -- LET'S GET IT RIGHT

Simcoe Reformer - Wed 27 Jun 2007

Byline: BY TOBY BARRETT

Displays and speeches at the Jarvis Community Centre on June 19 gave people an eyeful and earful on our area's energy debate.

All the cards must be on the table so we can make informed decisions that will allow our community to "get it right."

The Jarvis Energy and the Environment Symposium was an initial attempt to do just that. Invitations were sent to stakeholders from all energy and environmental sectors to ensure all views were represented. The obvious elephant in the room was the local debate regarding coal versus nuclear.

Display tables reflected everything from clean air technology to solar, coal gasification, carbon sequestration, nuclear and more. The newly formed Grand Erie Energy Quest was on hand to direct questions to its website at www.energyquest4nanticoke.ca.

Keynote speaker for the evening, Ontario Environment Commissioner Gord Miller, framed the debate by stressing alternatives and their impacts during these "complex times" in the constant struggle to meet energy needs.

Carol Chudy (Clean Affordable Energy Alliance) was the first presenter to the podium. Chudy pointed out that, with regard to coal-fired energy, "pollution effects are overstated", before highlighting the available/affordable options to clean up emissions. Further details can be found at www.caealliance.com.

David Shier and Peter Faulkner (Canadian Nuclear Worker Council) highlighted the safety and benefits of nuclear generation, stating, "Nuclear power has served this province well for more than 40 years." More information can be found at www.cnwc-cctn.ca.

John Spracket (Power Workers Union) was next up and stated that closing Ontario's coal stations:

1. is politically-motivated;

2. has been justified by misrepresenting the facts; and

3. exposes Ontario consumers to unnecessary costs and risks.

The Power Workers Union plan can be accessed at www.abetterenergyplan.ca.

Andrew Muller (president, Society of Energy Professionals) picked up a metal fuel rod bundle, provided by Atomic Energy of Canada, to demonstrate the safety of nuclear generation. The website www.thesociety.ca further details the "getting it right" electricity plan that proposes to meet Ontario's baseload electricity requirement through a combination of nuclear generation and renewables; and meet Ontario's peak demand with coal burning facilities utilizing available emission control technologies and renewable biomass.

Shawn Patrick Stensil (Greenpeace) underlined the theme of the night stating, "Your community has a very important debate ahead of it -- look out for what's best for your community." He encouraged listeners to question local politicians and others planning energy alternatives in the area..

Ted Cowan (Ontario Federation of Agriculture) delivered a rollicking presentation referencing the potential for agriculture-based energy alternatives, while focussing on the importance of a diverse energy supply that doesn't rely on any single generation source. The OFA website is www.ofa.ca.

Rob Lyng (Ontario Power Generation), described biomass pilot projects at Nanticoke OPG. Phase 1 of the project began over a year ago with the burning of wheat shorts and a series of short duration burns to refine the operation and fuel feed. A large-scale engineered test burn may be scheduled for August 2007. The OPG website is www.opg.com.

John R. Bowlby, M.Sc. Geoscientific Studies in the Great Lakes raised issues regarding the suitability of the Nanticoke site for potential future energy projects given questions about fractures in the bedrock which could indicate seismic activity.

And S.(Ziggy) Kleinau (Citizens for Renewable Energy) reminded us what "can be done" at home to reduce our use and reliance on mass market energy generation. Check out www.crfe.ca.

Let's get it right.....

Toby Barrett is MPP for the riding of Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant