January 10, 2013 / 8:20 PM / 5 years ago

Ontario moves ahead plans to close two coal power plants

* Nanticoke, Lambton power plants to close by end of 2013

* Province aims to end coal power generation by end 2014

CALGARY, Alberta, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Ontario, the largest and wealthiest Canadian province, will close two of its largest coal-fired power plants by the end of 2013, a year earlier than expected, the provincial government said on Thursday.

The province will close four remaining coal units at the 2,000-megawatt Nanticoke Generating Station on the north shore of Lake Erie and the 950-megawatt Lambton Generating Station on the St. Clair River 26 kilometers (16 miles) south of Sarnia by year end, the government said in a release.

Ontario’s Liberal government, which has been moving to eliminate coal-fired electricity since 2003 to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, said the early closing was a result of conservation efforts, improvements to the distribution grid and a more diverse supply of clean energy.

The government has set a target of producing 13 percent of Ontario’s energy from renewable sources by 2018 and zero from coal by late 2014. The last remaining coal units, a 300-megawatt plant near Thunder Bay, is still scheduled to close by the end of next year.

However, the Liberal government, led by soon-to-retire Premier Dalton McGuinty, has been under fire for its green energy strategy. The World Trade Organization ruled last month that a provincial scheme that saw higher prices paid to green-power suppliers using local technology broke its rules.{ID:nL5E8NJDPF]

The WTO said the plan was unfair to foreign companies.

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