Green Party leader critical of Capital Power turbine plan

Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner does not want to see natural gas powered turbines fired up in Windsor. (Tijana Martin/Canadian Press - image credit)
Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner does not want to see natural gas powered turbines fired up in Windsor. (Tijana Martin/Canadian Press - image credit)

Ontario's Green Party leader is calling on the federal government to ban new natural gas power plants.
This would also include putting a halt to Capital Power's proposal to bring two new gas-fired turbines online in Windsor.

"The Ford government's mismanagement of our electricity system has really put Windsor in a bind around generating capacity," said Mike Schreiner in an interview from Guelph Wednesday.

"We absolutely want the EV battery plant to be built, operated, working in Windsor, creating jobs and creating the vehicles we need to help address the climate crisis. But we also want to make sure that the electricity powering those plants are clean electricity. That's what the people who are making these investments want," said Schreiner.

Schreiner is instead calling on the Ford government to bring on more solar panels to produce the needed energy to prevent blackouts and brownouts predicted by the province's energy authority, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).

CBC News
CBC News

Windsor city council gave its blessing to the turbine proposal last week, despite some public opposition for environmental reasons.

If approved, the plan would add 100 megawatts of capacity at the company's existing East Windsor Cogeneration facility.

The IESO is seeking proposals as part of a plan to add 4,000 mega watts of electricity generation and storage to the province's system. That was mandated by the Ford government last October.

A spokesperson for Capital Power said that there are number of steps to go through before the plan advances.

"If we are selected by the IESO through its competitive process we will be required to obtain various approvals and permits from both the provincial government and the city," Jay Shukin, manager of Indigenous and stakeholder engagement for Capital Power, said in a statement.

While visiting Windsor last week, Premier Doug Ford was asked if the province would authorize the project.

"It's very simple. If if any decision we make is not good for the people, don't do it," he said.

Schreiner says without the federal government's intervention, Ontarians could be stuck paying for gas-powered plants that can't be used.

Capital Power
Capital Power

"I can tell you that the analysis that's been done on the province's plans to ramp up fossil gas plants is that it's going to increase climate pollution by 300 per cent over the next decade and possibly as high as four to 600 per cent over the next two decades, undermining about half of the emission reductions that we achieved from the coal phase out," said Schreiner.

Schreiner can't say how much difference the two turbines in Windsor would contribute to the climate pollution.

A spokesperson for the ministry of Energy sent this statement in response to our request for an interview with minister Todd Smith.

"In addition to a limited amount of natural gas generation, which the Independent Electricity System Operator says is necessary to prevent blackouts, the province has launched the largest procurement of clean energy storage in the country's history," said director of communications Palmer Lockridge.

Lockridge says the IESO will take submissions until Feb. 16 and then likely issue its decision the following month.