Last Tuesday the government of Ontario announced the Thunder Bay Generating Station – Ontario’s last coal-fired power plant – had burnt off its last supply of coal. The electricity of Canada’s most populous province is officially coal free.
“Today we celebrate a cleaner future for our children and grandchildren while embracing the environmental benefits that our cleaner energy sources will bring,” says Bob Chiarelli, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, in a press release.
The coal power plant in Thunder Bay was one of five in Ontario that a little over ten years ago produced 25 per cent of the province’s electricity. Burning coal is a particularly polluting form of generating electricity and shutting down Ontario’s five coal plants is the equivalent of pulling seven million cars off the road in terms of global warming greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Ontario is the first province or state in North America to successfully phase out the burning of coal to produce electricity. The Winnipeg-based International Institute for Sustainable Development describes the move as the “single largest regulatory action in North America” to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.