Nanticoke Generating Station
|Nanticoke Generating Station|
|Location||Nanticoke, Haldimand County, Ontario|
|Owner(s)||Ontario Power Generation|
Biomass/Natural Gas (prospective)
|Maximum capacity||1,880 MW|
The Nanticoke Generating Station is the largest coal-fired power plant in North America, delivering up to 1,880 MW of power into the southern Ontario power grid from its base in Nanticoke, Ontario, Canada. Prior to unit shutdowns, its generating capacity was 3,964 MW. It is owned by Ontario Power Generation. It was scheduled for decommission in early 2009 as part of the Government of Ontario's commitment to eliminate coal power, but this has been repeatedly delayed. Four of its eight units have been shut down, and the remaining units will phase out the use of coal by the end of 2013. Some units may be converted to use biomass or natural gas in the future. Prior to the commencement of decommissioning, Nanticoke was one of Canada's top ten single sources of greenhouse gases.
The Nanticoke Generating Station is built on the site of the "Battle of Nanticoke", where in 1813 the Norfolk volunteer militia routed a band of American marauders who had been pillaging area farms and terrorizing the country, an exploit that inspired the British military forces and the people of Upper Canada during the War of 1812. The site was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1924.
Ontario Hydro revealed plans to build a 4,000MW fossil-fuel generating station near Long Point, Ontario in 1967. Its current site was selected in Nanticoke, Ontario, because of the nearby harbour, the proximity of United States coal supplies, and proximity to much of Ontario's population. The construction of the plant cost CAN$800 million and operations started in 1972. Eight pulverized coal-fired steam generators were built in phases between 1973 and 1978.
By 1981, the plant was consuming 35,000 tonnes of coal per day. Over the years, another $900 million has been invested in making the plant more energy efficient, robust, and improving its emissions.
Power generation and distribution
At full capacity (4000MW) with all eight generating units functioning, the station's annual electricity production had been as high as 24 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), enough electricity to run nearly 2.5 million households. Although the plant houses eight generating units, four of those units have since been retired. (Two were retired in 2010, and two were retired in 2011.) The remaining four units are purported to be retired by the end of 2014. 
Power generation at this plant is on a stand-by basis, only operating during peak levels of energy consumption, or when other generating facilities are unavailable. At other times the plant remains idle. When demand for electricity is high, the remaining four active generating units are put into service, with the maximum potential to produce approximately 5% of Ontario's total generating capacity. (1880MW out of the 34,079MW of existing power generation in the province as of January 2012.) The plant is connected to the power grid by numerous 230,000 and 500,000 volt transmission lines.
Cooling water for the plant is drawn from Lake Erie using two pipes that are 6.5m in diameter, stretch 550m offshore, and sit 10m below the surface. The plant has two multi-flue smokestacks which are both 198 m (650 ft) tall.  A dock on the shore of the site allows ships to deliver coal to an on-site stock pile, which can hold up to 4.5 megatonnes.
The Nanticoke station used to be one of Canada's largest greenhouse gas emitters and polluters. In 2001, it was the largest single source of greenhouse gases according to Environment Canada. Due to major reductions in output since 2009, it was eventually surpassed by facilities in Alberta.
|Greenhouse gas||Sum (tonnes)||Sum (tonnes CO2e*)|
*Calculated figures for CO2e are rounded to the nearest tonne.
|Year||Emissions (tonnes CO2e)|
The Government of Ontario had originally targeted to phase out all of its coal plants by 2009, but abandoned this target in 2006 to the ire of organizations representing nurses and physicians, community groups and environment groups. The province could not replace Nanticoke's energy output by the deadline. The province was examining replacing this output using nuclear power by refurbishing its existing fleet, and building two additional reactors at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. Bruce Power, Canada's only private nuclear power company, also proposed building two reactors on former Stelco lands in Nanticoke. However, this was met with immediate opposition and dismissal from the government. "It's a speculative move on the part of a private company...It doesn't enjoy the support, encouragement [or] approval...of the Government of Ontario," stated George Smitherman, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure.
Currently, a regulation under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) stipulates that coal will not be used in Ontario to generate electricity past December 31, 2014. Nanticoke is scheduled to phase out its use of coal and switch to using biomass. While this substitution will result in lower net greenhouse gas emissions, it will also result in lower electricity generation. Premier Dalton McGuinty announced 2500 MW of green energy projects in April 2010. These projects will help Ontario move towards greener electricity production, and help compensate for the decreased generation at Nanticoke, keeping it on track towards the current scheduled phase-out date of 2014.
- "Nanticoke Generating Station". Ontario Power Generation. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- "Naticoke Generating Station brochure". Ontario Power Generation. January 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
- "Weather and Ontario's Electricity System". Independent Electricity System Operator. July 2008. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "Naticoke Generating Station". Ontario Power Generation. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
- "GHG Facility Table 2009". Environment Canada. 15 March 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- Nanticoke National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places.
- Wiancko 1981, p. 96
- "Facility and GHG Information - Nanticoke Generating Station". Environment Canada. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
- "GHG Facility Table 2010". Environment Canada. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
- Ecojustice (11 October 2006). "Ontario abandons coal phase-out, guts smog and climate change plans". Retrieved 24 April 2010.
- CBC News (1 November 2008). "Ont. government signals opposition to Bruce Power nuclear reactors". CBC. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (22 January 2009). "Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 24 April 2010.
- "Naticoke Generating Station brochure". Ontario Power Generation. February 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- CBC News Now - Green Energy for Ontario (Television). CBC News. 8 April 2010.
- Talaga, Tanya (3 September 2009). "Ontario shuts 4 coal-fired units". The Star (Toronto).
- "Ontario's Long-Term Energy Plan". Government of Ontario. 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
- Wiancko, P. M. (1981). Environmental Design and Operation of Nanticoke Thermal Generating Station. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 7(2):96-104