Canada’s Ontario joins global ‘war on coal’

The Canadian province of Ontario may soon become the first place in North America to snuff out coal-fired electricity generation for good, as it is set to introduce next week legislation aimed to ban the burning of coal and the building of new such plants.

If the proposed Ending Coal for Cleaner Air Act is approved, it would means that no Ontario generating station will ever burn coal again, once this kind of facilities stop operating by the end of 2014, the government said in a press release.

The plan has been in the works for quite a while. The Liberals first promised to close the coal plants in 2007, then pushed back the timetable to 2009 and again to 2014.

In January this year, Chris Bentley —who was then Ontario’s minister of energy— vowed he would make coal account for less than 1% of the province energy supply by 2014.

He also said the province's largest coal-fired electricity plants, Nanticoke and Lambton, would be shut by the end the year.  And the province will likely deliver— it is finishing the conversion of Nanticoke to run on biomass.

Ontario, Canada's most populous province, is an established net exporter of electricity. Last year alone it sold 10 TWh that had in excess, which is about enough to power Hawaii, according to Clean Technica.

Ontario’s government says its elimination of coal-fired electricity is the single largest greenhouse gas reduction initiative so far in North America.

The World Coal Association (WCA), which groups the globe’s coal companies, has warned the world can’t abandon the black combustible as it generates about 41% of world electricity and is likely to overtake oil as the main source of energy by 2020.

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