Friday, February 17, 2006

More power playing

Last month I wrote two pieces on the power supply in Ontario, here and here. Since then, the proposed Toronto portlands power station is becoming a bigger fiasco by the day.

David Miller is still pushing back at the Portlands Energy Centre 550MW power station, given the thumbs up by the province this week. He has to, since his fellow NDPer Peter Tabuns is making it a cornerstone of his MPP campaign. If Miller wasn't in danger of being kicked out before, failure to help out Tabuns would lead to more Churley style hissy-fitting. Indeed, at the recent public meeting, some speakers opposed any plant at all which is unsurprising given Hizzoner's recent damascene conversion to having one. This is what happens when you promise to turn an existing industrial zone into parks and fluffy bunnies and ignore the City's actual needs - especially when you haven't gotten a badly needed park sorted out already.

There are several unanswered questions about Miller's reasoning:
  • Why will his 300MW plant be able to come to an agreement with Enwave to resell co-generated steam when Portlands could not?
  • How will that steam be efficiently co-generated when the power station requirement is for peak load not base load?
  • How many toonies will it take to break Great Lake Studios lease on Miller's preferred site, the OPG owned Hearn Generating Station - especially when the City's loose cannon, TEDCO, was involved in the deal?
  • Where is your published plan regarding the ability of the City of Toronto to continue to absorb 100,000 more people and their electricity needs annually (based on StatsCan's 4% growth rate for Toronto between 1996-2001). If you don't have a plan - get out of the way of those who do.
  • Does Toronto Hydro management consider the power station a viable investment or is this another politically motivated use of TH like the "outsourcing" of Toronto lighting, the dividend raids and the $900m loan which every year is threatened with being called in when the City budget won't balance?
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