County says refuel plant - Motion passes to support Nantncoke Generating Station

Port Dover Maple Leaf: LYN TREMBLAY - July 21, 2010

Last week, Norfolk County councillors unanimously approved a motion put forth by Councillor Jim Oliver that urged the Province of Ontario to confirm its ntentions to refuel the Nanticoke Generating Station to alternative fuels by December 2014.

In passing the resolution, councillors agreed that retrofitting the facility to burn biomass and natural gas as fuel sources to replace coal “would achieve significant environmental benefits, would create significant opportunities for Norfolk farmers and others in the production of purpose-grown agricultural biomass, and would maintain NGS jobs vital to our local community and economy"

The motion followed on the heels of a deputation, Rick Prudil on behalf of the Power Worker’s Union.

Mr Prudil said he was concerned because, with the facility slated to shut down in less than 54 months, there is no concrete plan in place for its continued operation He noted at the end of October this year; 115 jobs will be lost when two of eight units are permanently shut down, "We fear that is only the beginning and that all of the remaining (approximately) 450 regular full time Nanticoke jobs are at risk, Also at risk is thousands upon thousands of hours of temporary/seasonal work at our station?

He said employees are asking for community support in efforts to have the station converted to burn natural gas complemented by carbon neutral biomass, and support in asking the province to immediately initiate a full study of the potential benefits of the conversion.

In his presentation, Mr Prudil stated members of the Power Worker‘s Union feel conversion to natural gas is the best investment for several reasons -- existing infrastructure is renewed, cost is significantly lower more electricity is generated, more jobs can be created and Ontario’s energy security enhanced by introducing carbon·neutral biomass as another fuel and the existing positive community benefits for the area will be preserved and expanded.

But he also added that members were "deeply disturbed by the rate of progress" adding that infrastructure has to be built, and it would take time to grow process and transfer the biomass.

Mayor Dennis Travale stated that a meeting has been set up between members of county council and Ontario Power Generation.