To begin with, I'd like to likewise thank you for reading through my post and responding to it.
I will agree with you on the emissions when compared to coal. Keep in mind that many of these new and proposed “mini” plants are built to burn both Natural Gas, and Number 2 Fuel Oil. If you read the ERR, the Greenfield South plant was originally supposed to burn oil, up to a maximum of 10% yearly hours. In the ERR, they based their emission figures at a 96/4 Natural Gas:Fuel Oil ratio.
However, what you fail to account for are the things that you don’t see coming out of the smokestack.
Yes that's true, the amount and composition of pollutants would change if they use more fuel oil than expected. However, while I don't have any available figures, I'd imagine that a even a 6% increase in fuel oil use per year for a plant this size would not result in any kind of dramatic increase that would suddenly make it a widespread health hazard. There are more concerns with burning fuel oil in general as opposed to NG(natural gas) but much depends on the efficiency of combustion and the filtration processes used on the exhaust fumes. In any case as far as I am aware Ontario has access to an abundant supply of LNG (http://www.uniongas.com/aboutus/aboutng/ngqa.asp
) from western Canada. This plant and others like it are designed to run most efficiently and economically using NG. Barring any unforeseen circumstance, which they have probably attempted to account for, there is no reason to believe that they would exceed the specified use of fuel oil.
You’re not accounting for the pollution associated with extracting, and transporting the natural gas. When natural gas is extracted from the ground, some methane, and other gasses get also released, during gas well ventilation. And that’s of course in addition to gas leakage from loose fittings, cracks in pipes, etc. When you combine all of these factors, according to new EPA research, natural gas could be only 25% or less cleaner than coal. Methane as you know is one of the most potent greenhouse gasses. I’m also sure you’re aware about the debate over fracking – the non-environmentally sound way of extracting natural gas, which is done in many states south of the border.
Yes I have not taken that into consideration in this discussion because those emissions will not dramatically impact the air quality in Mississauga. Most certainly no where near to the degree that the coal power plants in this province would. I am aware that Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases, certainly far more potent than CO2. But this discussion is not about global warming. Also, as other have pointed out, your position does not seem to be against NG plants outright, only the placement of such.
Completely disagree. Studies have shown that localized CO2 emissions contribute to smog, which in turn causes health problems. See the Stanford University study by Mark Jacobson.
I’m aware of this, and I don’t think I mentioned that CO2 as a gas itself is a health issue for anyone.
It seemed to me that you were basing your position primarily out of concern on the CO2 emissions. In regards to that study, the suggestion is that atmospheric heating due to elevated levels of CO2's results in a greater level of pollutants in the air. We're all aware of the need to reduced our production of CO2. It a complicated issue and I'm not going to get into that for the sake of this discussion. I will say that considering the circumstances and available options I do agree with Ontario's decision to build a few NG power plants to supply peak load generation capacity. Had this plant been placed on the outskirts of the GTA, where you would like it to be, it would still be contributing to the overall level of CO2 regionally. From a localized perspective, other than local roadways and the nearby major highways, which are a far larger sources of emissions yet you don't hear anyone clamoring to remove them altogether, there are no other large sources of CO2. South-Eastern Mississauga and Southern Etobicoke are not comparable to LA. In any case, when in operation, this plant will 'put back' into the air 1/10th of the reduction we saw from the closure of Lakeview(based on Lakeview operating at 50% capacity -1200MW its maximum during its final years and with coal emitting approx. twice as as much CO2 per unit of energy produced).
Another thing to note, the plant smokestack is 40 meters high. The condos are much taller than that. Particulate matter and other contaminants will blow into the condos
Smokestack plums are highly varible and don't just stay at one specified height. Also your claims of particulate matter are unfounded, as this type of NG power plant produces negligible amounts.
Secondly there is but one large condo development which can be considered nearby that is taller than this stack. That would be the condominium development just south of Sherway Garden's, one kilometer from the plant. By the time the exhaust reaches any other highrises which are several times farther, it will be largely defused. As for those who live at Sherway, if they are truly concerned about this plant then I must ask them this; why did they chose to live at such a location in the first place? Considering their complex is practically built on top of a highway which is used by almost 200,000 vehicles per day. Not to mention there is another one nearby which has over 320,000 users per day. (http://www.raqsb.mto.gov.on.ca/techpubs/TrafficVolumes.nsf/tvweb?OpenForm&Seq=9
) A large portion of each of those counts would be duplicates but even in the lowest case we're talking about emissions from around 400,000 vehicles. Factoring in local streets its probably in the area of 450,000 vehicles, or ten times
the amount that this plant will add to the local air(CO2 only). The plant is also farther away than these road ways are. But more importantly, NG burns much cleaner than gasoline. Would a 1%, or even a 10% increase in the amount of pollutants that these residents are currently exposed to, suddenly exceed some threshold of what is acceptable? I think not.
I’m guilty as charged. That being said, I am looking at converting the home for geothermal heating once my high efficiency NG furnace starts acting up.
I am glad you are taking the intuitive. It would be great if more people would, which is part of the problem. You may be willing to switch but how many other people in your neighborhood are? I'd imagine hardly a handful.
Lakeview was shut down in 2005. We’ve had no pollution from the Lakeview plant in the GTA airshed for 6 years. Ontario has been exporting more power than it has been importing, as our power consumption has dropped. We really don’t need this plant.
For base load no, for peak loads yes. Excluding coal power, which we do not want to depend on and wind power, which is not guaranteed to always be available and therefor shouldn't be factored into calculations on maximum available power, Ontario has about 29,000MW of installed generation capacity. (http://www.ieso.ca/imoweb/media/md_supply.asp
) Wind would add 1,334MW, less than 5%.
Of course its a rarity that this is the actually amount that is available at any given time due to planned and unplanned outages. Aside from that, the system is capable of importing 4800MW. At first glance it would seem that these figures would indicate that Ontario currently has a sufficient supply of electricity. Considering the typical warm summer day results in a usage figure in the low 20,000's. However, our record, established on Aug 1 2006 is 27005 MW. Which is 93% of that 29,000 figure. Since the 2006 Ontario has added 5672MW of capacity, 4733MW of which from NG plants alone. (http://www.ieso.ca/imoweb/media/md_supply.asp
). That would mean the maximum available capacity in 2006, excluding coal and not included any outages, was little over 23,000MW. But what of the 4800MW import capacity? (which may have been less back then). Well this record was established in a heat wave, its not like Ontario is an island, undoubtedly those exporters were effected by the heat wave and in all likely hood would of only had a faction of that amount available for exportation. All of which is precisely why Ontario had to rely on increased coal powered generation during those hot summer days and during the cold winter ones as well. The type of generation that would release the same amount of pollutants(SOx, NOx) in a single day(for a single plant like Lakeview) as what Greenfield south will in a year
. The government obviously does not want to go down that route nor would we want them to. Again there is no guarantee how much power we can imports during a regional heat or cold wave. All of which explains precisely why they had to add that 4733MW of electricity to the grid in the form of reliable and quick starting NG power plants for peak load generation.
Yes, power use has declined somewhat since those record days, but how much of that can we really attribute to conservation measures, as opposed to the state of the economy? The simple facts are; Ontario is growing, people are slow to implement conservation measures, coal power is to be avoided at all costs and this province came dangerously close to over usage blackouts in the past. I'm sure the government was pretty scared when the available capacity was getting into the high 90's%. They obviously don't want a repeat. I'm not an expert on exactly how much generation we need, but I trust the governments figures. If they say we need this plant, then we need it. The budget makes it so that it wouldn't be in their best interest to lie about that. They wouldn't spend money on a power plant if they didn't need to. There's nothing 'sexy' about it. Its likely to cost you votes, but only a fraction as many as rolling blackouts would.
But generating capacity is only one side of the picture. What good would is it to have 29,000MW of generating capacity when you can't get it to the places that need it most?
Which brings us to;
I’m sorry, but if you think that locating power plants in urban centres is a wise idea, you haven’t provided any sound reasons or benefits to support that.
If we are to build these peaker NG plants, we should place them in areas where the least amount of people will be affected.
For the greater good – right?
When it comes to the ridiculous amounts of pollution spewed out by the plants of yesterday, most definitely. But there is no comparison to these plants. The reason of course why these plants are needed inside the GTA is because the transmission grid was overload. As noted here; http://www.ieso.ca/imoweb/pubs/marketReports/ORO_Report-Dec2009.pdf
pg 7. Which also paints a very good picture of how the transmission grid is set up and what improvements are need.
Most of the hydro corridors in the GTA are heavily built in. In order to add additional transmission capacity, massive upgrades would be required and expropriation would be necessary. Portland's and Greenfield south are located at ideal locations where they can provide the most help in reducing the overall strain on the transmission grid. Your prefers solution would result in forcing people out of their homes. Extensive construction work, which would result in creating localized sources of hazardous air polluting (diesel fumes from construction equipment) and significant amounts of noise pollution. Would you be okay with this? I suppose only if its not in your neighborhood
But most importantly, the costs of a couple of relatively small combined cycle LNG power plants are a fraction of what it would be to widen the GTA's hydro right-of-ways and build miles of hydro towers. That money, which the government clearly does not have, would be differed from other government programs, be it health care, transit, education, etc. All just to displace a comparatively small amount of pollutants. Its seem to me that those opposed to the plant are largely ignorant of the reasons for it.
My suggestion to you and by no means am I being sarcastic, is that perhaps the next time you move it would be wise to examine the area for local transmission grids. Besides, as I've mentioned before, this plant is zoned in an industrial area which has been the site of heavy industries previously/currently re; the smelter of some type on Tonolli rd. The quantity of pollutants from that facility may be far less, but the type may be far more dangerous.
In any case, the plant is already well under construction. I'm not sure what you were attempting to do by starting this thread at this point. You have every right to be opposed to it. But taking everything into consideration, its quite obvious that your position is not supported by a majority and is hence, not "for the greater good".