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Canada Power Earth Science Technology

Canada Plans To Phase Out Coal-Powered Electricity By 2030 (theguardian.com) 147

Last week, French president Francois Hollande announced that France will shut down all its coal-fired power plants by 2023. This week, Canada's environment minister, Kathleen McKenna, announced that Canada plans to phase out its use of coal-fired electricity by 2030. The Guardian reports: [McKenna] said the goal is to make sure 90% of Canada's electricity comes from sustainable sources by that time -- up from 80% today. The announcement is one of a series of measures Justin Trudeau's Liberal government is rolling out as part of a broader climate change plan. Trudeau also has plans to implement a carbon tax. "Taking traditional coal power out of our energy mix and replacing it with cleaner technologies will significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, improve the health of Canadians, and benefit generations for years to come," McKenna said. Four of Canada's 10 provinces still use coal-based electricity. Alberta had been working toward phasing out coal-fired electricity by 2030.
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Canada Plans To Phase Out Coal-Powered Electricity By 2030

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  • Coal in Canada? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    They don't even use the word "electricity" up there. They call it "hydro".

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Hydro is short for hydroelectricity. Several provinces generate vast amounts of it and the name stuck. In Manitoba, natural gas and electricity are delivered via Manitoba Hydro, a provincially run corporation.
    • Re:Coal in Canada? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2016 @08:51PM (#53335927)

      Yeah, it's called Hydro because in BC, Quebec and Newfoundland/Labrador most of the electricity is Hydroelectric. Alberta and Saskatchewan use primarily coal. Ontario is the only province that uses primarily Nuclear, Hydroelectic and Natural Gas, but their power distribution network is called Hydro One.

      There are only 14 coal plants in Canada. 7 of them are in Alberta. 3 in Saskatchewan, 2 in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick has one of everything.

      So shutting down the coal plants mostly impacts Alberta, and the fun fact is that Alberta can pretty much "mooch" off BC while it transitions to something else.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Manitoba Hydro operates one coal fired unit in Brandon MB [hydro.mb.ca] that is used only during system emergencies

      • Re:Coal in Canada? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Layzej ( 1976930 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @10:20PM (#53336387)
        Canada's province of Ontario was the first jurisdiction in North America to fully eliminate coal as a source of electricity generation. This had the greenhouse gas reduction equivalent of taking 7 million cars off the road. Not bad for a province of just under 14 million.
        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          Sure. And it also was one of the contributing factors to drive the price of electricity from $0.07kWh at peak to the current price of $0.18kWh at peak in less than a decade. Though the main culprit behind that is the "green energy" program here, which as paid at rates as high as $0.92kWh for generation. [financialpost.com] How it's effectively fucked us. [financialpost.com] How it's putting farmers out of business. [financialpost.com] How the government knew it was a bad idea from the start [nationalpost.com]. And it's shit like this that causes populist revolts. It is now so b

          • by gtall ( 79522 )

            I notice you fail to include any costs due to the environmental impact of using coal. Myopia, get it looked at.

            • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

              I notice you fail to include any costs due to the environmental impact of using coal. Myopia, get it looked at.

              Far less then the immediate impact then say the steel industry, or the huge amount of smog that's in Toronto for example. But I'm sure if you lived here, you'd be perfectly fine paying the electricity rates that we are right? Or would you be one of those middle class people who are now one pay cheque shy of being unable to cover anything.

            • Ah, yes. The nebulous "externalized costs" that can be, well, just about anything that can be dreamt up as an excuse to discredit any type of energy generation. Sort of like how legitimate business deductions/expenses become "subsidies" when they are employed by an industry that the enviros don't approve of.
          • Be f***ed now, or be f***ed later. If you factor in the external cost coal is pretty expensive. But, those cost will have to be paid by someone else. That's good business. http://www.sourcewatch.org/ind... [sourcewatch.org]
            • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

              Be f***ed now, or be f***ed later. If you factor in the external cost coal is pretty expensive. But, those cost will have to be paid by someone else.

              Considering losing cheap electricity counts for both? It means that tax bases dry up as companies move elsewhere, it means that there's less money for healthcare. It means that the government has to borrow more money to cover the existing programs at the same level. So you tell me what's worse, the fact that you're going to be buried alive in sovereign debt like Ontario is now -- and has the highest debt per-person of any western "state, province, or country" or you engage in short-term feel good politic

          • Yes and no.

            Perhaps a bit of a gamble that didn't pay off and perhaps it could have been implemented better, but the environmental impacts are real. Unfortunately so is the economic impacts. It isn't exactly short term thinking, but the negative impacts are. Could still see some longer term gain. What is at odds are those generation contracts that basically subsidize green generation in Ontario making it attractive to investors. The idea was to bring "green" jobs to Ontario. However most of the generation st

            • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

              The liberals have been in power in Ontario over over 12 years. Yes, you can put all the blame directly on their shoulders for this. It was their actions to not change and re-regulate(never mind that my electricity bill in my co-op in FL is literally 1/3 of what I pay here), it was their actions to pass the "green energy act" it was their choice not to learn from places like Greece which did the same thing. Their electricity rates went through the roof, and those "green energy jobs" never materialized eit

              • Yeah I guess I was thinking framing in terms of "crops" not livestock, but even then compared to I'd say most other industries it isn't even near the top of the electricity consumers, even considering livestock and say milk production for example.

                As far as alternative sources to alternative sources :) Well again it isn't all that simple either. NG? Well there was the afore mentioned scandal which is totally on the Liberals, which more less caused the "retirement" of the leader. In that case it was of course

        • by fche ( 36607 )

          "This had the greenhouse gas reduction equivalent ..."

          And all this accomplished -what-, in terms of climactic effect?

          • by Layzej ( 1976930 )
            We need to get to 0. Every journey begins with a single step.
            • by fche ( 36607 )

              A step taken voluntarily will last longer than a step made at the point of a sword. IOW: absent emergencies, governments should adjust incentives, and gently.

              • by Layzej ( 1976930 )

                IOW: absent emergencies, governments should adjust incentives, and gently.

                I agree completely. Governments are currently taking a top down approach where they pick the winners (feed in tariffs for solar/government investment in emerging technologies/etc) and losers (efficiency standards/banning coal/etc). Government actions will never be as efficient as market driven solutions. Surprisingly even most of the candidates running for the Canadian federal Conservative Party leadership are advocating "big government" solutions.

                Only the Conservative leadership candidate Michael Chon

      • The coal phase-out is on course to happen a lot sooner in Alberta. Our provincial government has made climate change a major part of its platform, which also includes leading the charge towards a "carbon tax" designed to cap carbon-emitters by placing an economic penalty on going over the limit.

        Mixed feelings about this. It's impossible to deny man made climate change exists, on the other hand we seem to be moving at a faster pace than our ability to replace our energy needs with cleaner/renewable sources.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        So shutting down the coal plants mostly impacts Alberta, and the fun fact is that Alberta can pretty much "mooch" off BC while it transitions to something else.

        And Alberta is ALREADY transitioning away from coal. In fact, earlier this year BC and Alberta (they're neighbouring provinces) signed an agreement where Alberta will start getting electricity from BC in the meantime.

        So the impact to Alberta will be far lower in the end because Alberta is already trying to move away from coal.

      • by dj245 ( 732906 )

        Yeah, it's called Hydro because in BC, Quebec and Newfoundland/Labrador most of the electricity is Hydroelectric. Alberta and Saskatchewan use primarily coal. Ontario is the only province that uses primarily Nuclear, Hydroelectic and Natural Gas, but their power distribution network is called Hydro One.

        There are only 14 coal plants in Canada. 7 of them are in Alberta. 3 in Saskatchewan, 2 in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick has one of everything.

        So shutting down the coal plants mostly impacts Alberta, and the fun fact is that Alberta can pretty much "mooch" off BC while it transitions to something else.

        I am most familiar with the plants in Nova Scotia, so I will comment on those. Nova Scotia is essentially an island by both geography and the current grid. There is a HV line to New Brunswick, but capacity is only around 350MW. Nova Scotia does also have a line to Newfoundland but this is an underwater line of limited capacity also. Wind is not a reliable option, and utility-scale solar has issues due to the high latitude and punishing winters.

        The power station at Lingan is ancient in terms of desig

  • export the pollution but keep the money
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2016 @08:33PM (#53335795)

    Yes ... let's keep kicking those environmental issues down the road. Fourteen years should give plenty of opportunity to blame some other government when this (and many other distant promises) don't actually happen ...

    • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @08:42PM (#53335847)

      Yes ... let's keep kicking those environmental issues down the road. Fourteen years should give plenty of opportunity to blame some other government when this (and many other distant promises) don't actually happen ...

      If the the new Administration does ignore Global Warming (and indeed, rolls back the paltry reductions that have already been put into place), I wonder if that opens up the USA to huge reparation payments down the road when other countries are forced to make huge expenditures due to the climate change?

      • It's all moot.

        Canada shot itself in the foot on this one.

        Replacing coal is very good for the photo-ops, but no leader is using shale oil fields as a backdrop.

      • not unless they have more bombs than us anyway. Reparation payments are made by folks who lack military and/or economic power. The United States has both. Given the enormous natural resources we have that's not likely to change. We're also the only nation with a proper navy (though China's catching up).
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          It will be like Trump's wall. If you want other good trade deals or access to resources, you have to pay to mitigate climate change first.

          Actually it's likely that the EU will just force the US to clean up anyway, like it did with China. Chinese companies had to become RoHS compliant and reduce their carbon emissions in order to sell to the EU market, and if Trump wants the US to become a big exporter of manufactured goods again then they will have to meet the standards set in other countries.

    • Well they could just turn them off now, but then how will you power whatever device you used to post your self righteous comment?

    • by rhazz ( 2853871 )
      Would you rather they made easily disprovable claims that they can have it all done in 4 years? Changes of this scale don't happen quickly, and it sure as hell can't be paid for with only 4 years of government revenue.
  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @09:02PM (#53336011)

    Coal is the least efficient and highest polluting method of power generation in the commercial market and everyone should be trying to eliminate it everywhere on the planet. If there was ever one method of power generation to eliminate, it's coal power.

    • While I agree with your sentiment, coal burning power plants are more efficient than solar arrays. Coal plants by themselves often average between 30-40% efficiency. Silicon based solar arrays have a lab-value maximum right now at ~25% efficiency. It gets even lower for the thin-film based solar cells, such as those based on ITO and CdTe, 10-16%.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Nonsensical comment is nonsensical.
        Solar efficiency has nothing to do with coal efficiency. One has the input fall from the sky and the other has to be dug up and burned.

        • Explain how it is nonsensical. I was simply refuting the claim that "Coal is the least efficient method of power generation in the commercial market." The numbers I stated are found in many different sources. I've also worked on photovoltaics.
          • Coal converts 30-40% of the energy in the expended fuel to electricity. Solar converts a lot more than 100% of the energy in the expended fuel to electricity. Solar is more efficient.

            Those 10-25% measure something else, which also happens to be a kind of efficiency, but that doesn't make it a meaningful comparison.

  • Do they count hydrocarbon exports in this? If I'm not burning any myself, but I'm selling them to others, is that any better?
  • France and Germany are removing all fossil fuel not just coal. Canada needs a deeper commitment as does the US. We also need to be planting tens of millions of trees and bamboo as well. Conditions in California are so bad that we will probably have to find unusual methods to irrigate forests in California, as they are rapidly losing all of their forests. But let's all chant together. There is no global warming ! After all Frankentrump has declared it so. Or is it Trumpenstein?
    • by nojayuk ( 567177 )

      Germany has no intention of eliminating fossil fuel burning in the near or even the far future. At the moment they generate 40% of their electricity demand from coal and lignite. They *hope* to have reduced their coal and lignite consumption by 2050 but it's a big industry and employer, and they have billions of tonnes of extractable lignite resources within their own borders so it's not going to disappear completely. They have legislated the shutdown of their non-fossil nuclear power plants by 2023 and tha

      • You are an idiot.
        Germay originally planned to be CO2 till 2030, that goal is now postponed till 240 or 2060.

        • by nojayuk ( 567177 )

          There is zero evidence that Germany plans to abandon burning lignite any time this century, never mind 2040 or 2060. There have been lots of fanciful announcements about renewables taking over and the end of fossil CO2 emissions but the facts don't agree. Ten years ago Germany generated about 40% of its electricity from coal and lignite, about 290 TWhrs. In 2015 it generated about 40% of its electricity from coal and lignite, about 270 TWhrs. The increase in renewables generation over that period has been b

          • There is zero evidence that Germany plans to abandon burning lignite any time this century, never mind 2040 or 2060.
            Yeah ... in your dreams. No idea why you post nonsense like the rest of your post.

            and start replacing their first-generation wind turbines and solar installations which are reaching end-of-life
            E.g. what is that supposed to mean? Wind turbines are replaced regularly and solar plants don't have an end of life.

            If you want accurate numbers I would suggest to improve your google foo, or check this:

            • by nojayuk ( 567177 )

              Near as I could figure it, Fraunhofer doesn't do coal, they only offer renewables (solar and wind) so it's not relevant. Here's a result from Google showing in chart form the last ten years or so of German electricity production (2005 - 2014):

              http://energytransition.de/201... [energytransition.de]

              Over the ten year period shown in the first chart non-carbon-emitting green nuclear production is down, renewable production is up and CO2-emitting coal and lignite production is not changing very much. The lowest production was i

              • Fraunhofer publishes figures about all energy production. Even if the titles in the publications usually say "renewable", it is always compared to the other forms of production, otherwise it would be meaningless.

                Nevertheless an interesting site/link.

  • so setting up a 10-15 year game plan so its phased out and lowers job loss ...obama shoulda done this instead of dropping the hammer on a whole industry

  • If only our government was smart and set some policy settings encouraging the building of renewables (we have plenty of places in this country that would be perfect for baseload solar setups plus wind power, biofuels, geothermal and more) rather than digging yet more coal out of the ground and burning it (or using coal seam gas which is almost as bad)

  • ... Trump will ramp up coal based energy production big time. Let's make America dirty again!
  • I can only imagine the reasoning behind running away from coal, how does one actually use the word sustainability and any other Technology other than coal? Scientists have worked tirelessly to produce clean burning coal plants and Cole is abundant, Coal employees people. If you look at this from a statistical standpoint and compare it against things like nuclear energy I think it is pretty clear that Coal is far more sustainable. I'm sure nuclear power is and option however with our government agencies bein

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