Ontario’s war on “dirty coal” continues with Atikokan Generating Station
By Anthony Capkun
July 19, 2012 – Ontario is moving forward with the conversion of the Atikokan Generating Station from coal to biomass, boasting it will create 200 construction jobs and help protect existing jobs at the plant. The province also says the generating station will be among the largest biomass-fired electricity-generating facilities in the world.
The conversion is the first of its kind in the province, says the government. It promises to create new economic opportunities for Ontario’s forestry sector, which will provide the biomass fuel to the plant. Demand for biomass pellets from the plant is expected to create or support about 200 jobs. The converted plant will be able to deliver more than 200MW of power, and takes the province a step closer to eliminating coal-fired electricity generation by the end of 2014.
Under the terms of the agreement to convert the station, the biomass must be sourced from Ontario’s forests and processed in Ontario. The procurement will provide a new market for waste fibre and act as a catalyst for a larger biomass industry in Ontario, says the province. Wood pellets will be made primarily from unused and underutilized species, non-marketable wood, forest residue and sawmill residue.