Canadian Biomass Magazine

Ontario to shutter coal plants a year earlier

January 11, 2013
By Ontario Newsroom

January 11, 2013, Toronto, ON – Ontario will shut the last of its coal plants in southern Ontario by the end of 2013, a year ahead of schedule.

According to a 2005 independent study, "Cost Benefit Analysis: Replacing Ontario's Coal-Fired Electricity Generation," this will save approximately $4.4 billion annually when health and environmental costs are taken into consideration.

The closure of coal plants has already produced significant health and environmental benefits for Ontarians, according to a release from the province. For example, 2011 sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions were 93 per cent and 85 per cent lower, respectively, than they were in 2003. And in 2011, Ontario's coal plants emitted 43 kilograms of mercury, the lowest on record in over 45 years.

The province has already shut down 11 of 19 coal units. By the end of 2013 it will have shut down 17 out of 19. Ontario's electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions will decrease dramatically as a result of becoming coal-free, from a high of 41.4 megatonnes in 2000 to only five megatonnes post-2020.

In 2003, coal accounted for 25 per cent of the province’s generation. Coal-fired generation made up less than three per cent of Ontario's total electricity generation in 2011.


Ontario is replacing coal with a mix of emission-free energy sources like nuclear and renewables, along with lower-emission energy sources like natural gas.

Years Coal           (Terawatt hours)    Coal as % of total generation
2003 Totals         36.6                           25%
2004 Totals         26.8                           17%

2005 Totals         30.0                           19%

2006 Totals         25.0                           16%
2007 Totals         28.4                           18%

2008 Totals         23.2                           15%

2009 Totals         9.8                             7%

2010 Totals         12.6                           8%

2011 Totals         4.1 <                          3%

Print this page


Stories continue below