Sarnia-Lambton MPP, Bob Bailey, wonders if Dalton McGuinty’s cabinet ministers have even discussed their provincial energy plans at the cabinet table. Bailey said this after Finance Minister Dwight Duncan made a confusing and completely inaccurate presentation on the conversion of coal fueled electricity plants to natural gas.
During last Thursday’s testimony to the Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Estimates, Duncan said to his knowledge, it was impossible to convert an existing coal-fired power plant at Lambton to gas generation.
“Considering the significant impact that closing LGS will have on Southwestern Ontario’s power supply and hydro bills, you would think Mr. Duncan would at least have a hint of how his government is planning to replace the coal-fueled energy we have long relied upon,” stated MPP Bailey. “I would recommend the Minister check out the OPG website where there is a ton of information on government’s energy plans including conversion of coal to natural gas.”
Duncan made his erroneous comments during questioning about the $190 million-plus relocation of the Mississauga gas-fired power plant to Lambton County, where a brand new plant will be built at an estimated cost of $300 million.
“As a former Minister of Energy, he should know it’s possible to convert coal plants to gas. And as the current Finance Minister, you’d think he’d want to make sure his government was pursuing the least expensive option for relocating the Mississauga plant,” said Opposition Energy Critic Vic Fedeli. “When I toured the Lambton plant, officials explained to me how easy it was going to be to convert the coal plant to natural gas.”
A news release from the Power Workers Union on July 19th, confirms that is indeed possible, and asserts it would be a much cheaper option.
“Two of the OPG Lambton generating units, capable of producing 950 MW can be converted from coal to natural gas for less than the $190 million penalty being paid just to relocated the Mississauga plant,” Power Workers Union President Don MacKinnon said in the release.
“For quite a while now, people in my area have been told government is pursuing coal to gas conversion possibilities at LGS,” Bailey concluded. “For McGuinty’s Finance Minister to deny the possibility of conversion speaks to the fact that these guys are just making it up as they go along.”