Canada replaces largest North American coal plant with solar

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A 44MW solar facility has been completed in Ontario, built on the site of what was once the largest coal-fired power plant in North America.

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Canada’s Ontario Power Generation (OPG) – working in cooperation with the the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – announced last week that they had successfully completed a 44 MW solar facility on the site of the former Nanticoke Generating Station, once the largest coal-fired power plant in North America.

At full capacity, the Nanticoke Generating Station once delivered 3,946 MW of power into the southern Ontario power grid. However, it burned its last lump of coal on December 31, 2013, and in 2014 Ontario became the first jurisdiction in North America to entirely remove coal from its energy mix.

In 2016, the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator awarded a contract to OPG and its partners to build the 44MW Nanticoke Solar, consisting of 192,431 solar panels spanning 260 acres on the shore of Lake Erie. Construction of the facility was completed last month and was brought fully online on March 29.

“We’ve partnered with the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, on this important initiative,” said OPG’s Mike Martelli, President of Renewable Generation.

“Building and sustaining a clean, low cost electricity system is fundamental to a healthy environment and a strong, low-carbon economy. Nanticoke Solar is a continuation of OPG’s rich legacy of generating electricity in this community.”

“Our company takes pride in all of the projects we build, and the Nanticoke Solar Facility is one of many exciting PCL-built projects in the rapidly growing sustainable energy sector,” said Andrew Moles, Director of Solar for PCL Construction, the company awarded the contracts for construction and supply.

“Through the expertise of our solar energy team, and the relationships fostered with top suppliers and consultants, we were able to construct, generate and store reliable, renewable power quickly and efficiently, while ensuring the highest standard of quality for OPG, First Nations and the local community.”

This marks the fourth partnership between OPG and Canadian First Nations to develop clean and renewable power projects in the province, including the 12MW Lac Seul hydroelectric project (in partnership with Lac Seul First Nation); the 438MW Lower Mattagami River hydroelectric project (in partnership with Moose Cree First Nation); and the recently completed 28MW Peter Sutherland Senior hydroelectric station (in partnership with Taykwa Tagamou Nation).

“The Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation hail this partnership as an important economic development,” said Chief Stacey Laforme.

“This is a very positive development for MCFN. Gone are the days when our First Nation suffered the burdens of the development of our territory without sharing in the benefits.

This project, along with others, sets the stage for future mutually-beneficial partnerships with OPG and others about developments across our territory. We look forward to working with OPG as partners in this project as it moves ahead.”

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