Environment Minister Kent introduces draft coal regulations UPDATED

Canada will not ‘lead the world in clean electricity generation,’ as Minister Kent states in the release, without doing much much more.

Ottawa (24 August 2011) - On August 19 the draft federal coal regulations were announced by Minister Kent.

The Climate Action Network Canada (CAN-Canada) and its many associate groups are clear that these draft regulations do not go far enough, fast enough to move Canada away from burning coal, one of the worst offenders when it comes to greenhouse gas pollution.

"Given what we know about climate change, Canada should not be building any new coal-fired power plants, and we should be rapidly phasing out the existing ones," stated Graham Saul, Executive Director of the Climate Action Network Canada.

The new federal coal regulations will apply to those plants over 45 years by 2015. These plants will be shut-down or under go efficiency upgrades to achieve the efficiency standard equivalent to natural gas burning electricity plants. This translates to 375 tonnes of CO2 per GWh of electricity produced. Any new coal plants built after 2015 will have to meet these standards as well.

The outstanding concern is the the existing fleet of coal fired generators will NOT be impacted by these performance standards. An additional loophole is that coal-fired units build with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology will be exempt from meeting these same performance standards until 2025.

All in all various exemptions effectively delay actual reductions today for another 14 years provided utilities invest in expensive CCS technology.

Maxim Power Corp. rushes to slip past regulations

On August 10th, Maxim Power Corp. received final approval from Alberta’s utilities regulator to build a coal-fired power plant that would start operating just prior to federal regulations on coal-fired electricity coming into effect. When the plans for regulations were first announced, the then-Environment Minister Jim Prentice committed to “guard against any rush to build non-compliant coal plants” before the federal regulations take effect in 2015.

Regulations delayed too long to meet targets

The current proposal of the federal government would have Canada burning coal for over 45 more years.

The proposed regulations will be posted in the Canadian Gazette on August 27th and will be open for comments for 60 days following.

Climate Action Network Canada response to Minister Kent's statements regarding coal regulation loopholes

September 9, 2011

In response to Minister Kent's statement that he will ensure no coal plants skirt new federal coal greenhouse gas regulations, Graham Saul, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada has responded as follows:

“Canadians across the country called on Minister Kent to stop Maxim Coal’s efforts to sneak past the proposed new federal coal regulations, and this is an encouraging sign that the Minister is listening. We look forward to seeing concrete changes in the proposed regulations that will close the Maxim loophole. The next step for Canada should be an aggressive plan to phase out all existing coal fired electricity. If we want to do our fair share to avoid run-away climate change, Canada needs to set a course to phase out oil, coal and gas and ramp-up clean energy, even before polluting plants reach the end of their economic life. Ontario is leading the way on the coal phase out and the whole country should follow its example. The Minister has an opportunity to start us in the right direction."
 

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