Nanticoke Generating Station in Ontario, Canada was once considered North America’s most powerful coal plant. Before it was closed down in 2013, the old plant churned out almost 4GW at its peak (for comparison, the Hoover Dam is a 2 GW facility).
After Ontario successfully eliminated coal from its energy mix, the facility sat idle for three years. Then, amid the shift in focus to renewable energy, and as a part of the province’s Large Renewable Procurement program, a permit was granted to turn the area into a 44MW solar farm.
The joint venture will be lead by Sun Edison Canadian Construction, alongside Six Nations Development Corporation, and Ontario Power Generation. It won’t offer as much energy as the coal plant did, but it will be more environmentally friendly.
“The project is a great example of how countries are retiring coal plants and replacing them with clean, renewable power plants,” said Michelle Chislett, SunEdison vice-president and country manager for Canada.
Ontario completely phased out coal in 2014 as a part of their commitment to building a clean economy. In order to replace this resource, sixteen contracts have been granted for renewable energy projects, such as solar projects, which will total 455MW of power once completed.
Although some residents of the province see this initiative as the culprit for their increasing energy bills, the health benefits from the switch have been significant. The province reduced its smog days from 109 between 2005 and 2007, to zero in 2015.
Now, take a deep breath and decide whether the extra cost is worth it.