Ontario is abandoning plans to build a 198-megawatt gas power plant in the city of Thorold to supply peak power to the provincial grid, after local councillors voted unanimously Tuesday evening to reject the project.
“Minister [Todd] Smith’s direction on this matter is clear—all applications for new energy projects require community support through a municipal council resolution,” Energy Ministry spokesperson Michael Dodsworth told The Energy Mix in an email. “We have empowered local communities, and we respect the decision of Thorold town council to say no to new power generation in their community.”
Toronto-based Northland Power had proposed the plant as part of the province’s deeply controversial effort to add up to 1,500 MW of gas-fired generation to the grid. A directive from Smith to the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) had required municipal letters of endorsement for any new local projects, but not for expansions of existing gas plants. The Thorold project, as a new installation to be built adjacent to an existing power plant, had to demonstrate local support.
That effort failed spectacularly Tuesday evening. On Monday, local organizer Mark Freeman said he could count four or five local councillors who were leaning against the project. Less than 48 hours later, all eight opposed it.
In the end, “a recorded vote took place that saw councillors unanimously vote against signing a letter of endorsement for the project,” Thorold Today reports. “When it was over, people in the audience erupted in loud applause.”
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