Ontario energy woes

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Regarding the letter “Clean Solutions” (March 21): To get an idea of what ending the use of coal in the United States will actually cost, take a look north to Ontario. The provincial government boasts that Ontario’s “phase-out of coal is the single-largest climate change initiative in North America.”

Ontario has reduced its use of coal for generating electricity from 25 percent of all power generated to now less than 2 percent. As a consequence, electricity rates are forecast to rise 42 percent over the next five years. With coal gone, more natural gas is being used to produce base load power, a consequence of which is that our chief natural gas supplier just requested a 40 percent price hike to account for supply shortages during this unusually cold winter. Had our coal stations remained on line, things would have been very different.

As Ontario moved away from coal, our economy suffered immensely. Our per capita debt is now $20,166, over five times that of California ($3,844), and the province pays about 9 percent of its revenues for interest on its debt (California pays about 3 percent).

Closing down our most reliable and least expensive source of electricity played a major role in reducing Ontario from a once-prosperous “have” province to now being a “have not” province, dependent on the charity of wealthier provinces. Who will support the United States if you similarly damage your economy by getting rid of coal, your most important source of electricity?

TOM HARRIS
Executive Director
International Climate Science Coalition
Ottawa, Ontario

 


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