Why Aren’t We Using More Thermal Coal in Canada? – The Real Reasons

CIM MineSpace 2001
Abstract The last coal-fired power plant to be built in Canada came into operation in 1994. Since then, Canada’s electricity requirements have grown substantially but no new coal-burning plants have been built. Canada has abundant resources of coal from coast to coast, but in recent years, this has made no difference to our choice of fuel. In many other countries this is not the case, and the use of coal is growing rapidly.

Although this presentation covers the topic from an Alberta perspective, some of the conclusions can be extrapolated to the rest of the country, and perhaps even to other countries.

The coal found in the Alberta plains is particularly attractive because of its low cost and low sulphur content. Yet coal is no longer the fuel of choice, and a long-standing provincial government policy to favour coal for electricity generation has been ignored for more than a decade. Considering the lack of good alternatives, it seems obvious that we should look to coal as our primary energy source for the generation of electricity and for other industrial applications.
This paper discusses some of the reasons that coal has fallen out of favour, particularly with respect to electricity generation. The significance of the deregulation of the electricity industry will not be ignored. In addition, the author will offer his opinion on the question of what it will take in order for coal to once again become the fuel of choice.
Keywords: Electricity, deregulation, restructuring, Coal, Generation
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