OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian government plans new regulations that will effectively phase out traditional coal-fired power stations, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said in an interview published on Wednesday.
He told the Globe and Mail newspaper that new coal plants would have to include technology to capture greenhouse gas emissions and inject them underground for permanent storage.
Ottawa also plans to impose absolute emission caps on utilities' existing coal-fired power plants and establish a market-based system to allow them to buy credits to meet those targets, he said.
"The approach that we've been working toward involves a cap-and-trade system relating to thermal coal, and the requirement of phasing out those facilities as they reach the end of their useful, fully amortized life," Prentice said.
"The concept is that, as these facilities are fully amortized and their useful life fully expended, they would not be replaced with coal," he added, saying the regulations would be unveiled later this year.
The Globe said coal-fired electricity represents roughly 18 per cent of Canada's current emissions, and eight of the 10 largest greenhouse gas emitters in the country are coal-fired power plants.
The minority Conservative government has long promised to release regulations aimed at major industrial emitters of greenhouse gases, including Alberta's oil sands producers.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway