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Energy generation -- let's stay plugged in

Simcoe Reformer: Toby Barrett - November 26, 2008

http://www.tobybarrett.com/publication/columns/nov-20-08.html

When it comes to energy generation and environment, last week's Jarvis symposium proves one thing -- Haldimand and Norfolk residents are plugged in.

A standing-room-only energized crowd of 250 joined a town hall open to all, featuring objective, information-intensive facts from all sides of the energy/environment spectrum. Invitations were sent to stakeholders from all energy and environmental sectors to ensure all views were represented.

Much has changed since the last symposium -- a regulation now to close coal production by 2014, an announcement from Bruce Power to option 1,760 acres from U.S. Steel for two nuclear reactors, natural gas and wind initiatives.

The obvious elephants in the room were coal and nuclear.

Exhibits set up before the speeches featured the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, CAE Alliance, Grand Erie Energy Quest, Canadian Nuclear Workers Association, TCI Renewables, and M2 Fuel Saver and Bruce Power.

Duncan McEachern was first up to discuss Competitive Power Ventures' combined cycle natural gas proposal north of Nanticoke plus wind power plans.

David Shier of the Canadian Nuclear Workers' Council wanted those assembled to understand that, "nuclear power plants are safe," "nuclear power plants produce no greenhouse gases," and "waste is safely managed." Further details can be accessed at www.cnwc-cctn.ca.

Clean and Affordable Energy (CAE) Alliance spokesperson Paul Surreys reminded us, "the Nanticoke plant is economy of scale" -- suggesting the OPG coal plant's emissions should be considered on a per megawatt basis, as one Nanticoke equals four coal plants. He added the "biggest crime" is that government has spent eight years without cleaning coal plants --

( www.caealliance.com has more on the "clean coal" story).

OPG Nanticoke's former plant manager, Chris Young, presented information on pilot tests of biomass. The minister of energy has recently directed that a review of the Integrated Power System Plan should "include the potential for converting existing coal fired assets to biomass." The OPG website is at www.opg.com.

Mark Bannister of Diverse Green Solutions -- representing OMNIwatt ( www.omniwatt.com ) -- spoke about the potential for wind, energy from waste, and possibility of green tobacco to make biodiesel.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture's Ted Cowan provided levity addressing the benefits to struggling farmers from biomass production, adding that "radioactive waste from corn cobs will be gone in 15 minutes." The OFA's information can be found at www.ofa.on.ca.

Richard Goodlet of Port Ryerse filled in as a speaker on carbon sequestration citing there are studies that suggest this area would have potential for injecting coal carbon emissions into underlying geological layers, adding that more funding was needed for research. The website www.energyquest4nanticoke.ca/options.htm has links to carbon sequestration links.

Grant Church of Cayuga made an impassioned plea to "clean up coal plants, and keep them open, as with the rest of the world," stating that because of rising energy prices from other forms of electricity generation "Ontario, once a place to stand and grow, is now a place to run from."

Janet Fraser and Stephana Johnston of Grand Erie Energy Quest concluded the evening indicating, "conservation efforts could eliminate the need for more nuclear plants" and that the energy discussion must continue to ensure the right power versus environment decisions are made for this and future generations. They directed people to www.energyquest4nanticoke.ca.

There's lots to discuss -- let's all stay plugged in.

Toby Barrett is MPP for the riding of Haldimand-Norfolk

Article ID# 1316531

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