On the Bleeding Edge

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  • One of the things that you (and conservatives in general) should really consider is the negative externalities things, in this case of coal power plants – ie. the extra costs that society must pay for due to the utilization of such plants. Coal plants (as most know) produce rather negative health effects due to the toxins that they put into the air. When calculating the cost of using coal plants vs. renewable sources, the extra costs of health care coverage, contribution to climate change, and the cost of lost work hours due to sickness caused by such toxins should be worked into the calculation.

    Sean Joudry | June 19, 2012 | Reply

  • I agree that coal plants should be replaced with more environmentally friendly alternatives for reasons you cite. But I do think we should wait at least until they are paid for (40 years). As a practical matter federal regulations may require replacement after 45 even though they could have 10 or more years of useful life in them.

    Bill Black | June 19, 2012 | Reply

  • To:Bill
    You make reference to 8 coal fired plants.I have only located 4 as set out in my previous comment.Where are the other 4,and are they presently using coal exclusively?

    Bill | June 16, 2012 | Reply

    • The 8 plants are Trenton 5 and 6,Point Tupper,Lingan1,2,3,and 4 and Point Aconi. It makes sense to separarte them because they have different construction dates. They burn coal,coke, and heavy fuel oil.


      Bill | June 19, 2012 | Reply

  • I believe that part of the rationale behind the government position is related to the desire to reduce generation of GHG and the negative health effects of burning coal. How does that element factor into the argument? I think that because of these issues we need to begin transitioning to new sources of energy. Treating existing plants as sunk costs will make it difficult to economically justify any such change so we need a different way to look at the problem.

    Full disclosure: I work with Seaforth Energy which is a Nova Scotia based manufacturer of wind turbines.

    Mike Morris | June 15, 2012 | Reply

    • Mike I support the addition of wind in replacement of coal generation but it should wait at least until the coal plants have been paid for. As a practical matter the coal plants may be forced by federal regulations to retire after 45 years which would mean two of the eight would retire by 2020. Whether they need to be replaced is not clear goiven the demise of Bowater and at least one Newpage plant, and the pre-existing forecast of decreasing demand.


      Bill | June 15, 2012 | Reply

  • According to Wikipedia we presently have 4 coal fired plants in NS:
    2)Tupper–150mw–built1973 (coal since 1987)
    3)Trenton–310 mw-built 1969
    4)Lingan–600mw–built 1979,and it provide 25% of NS power
    According to stats we will only get 170 mw from Muskrat,or about 30% of what we presently get from Lingan alone,and at an exorbitant cost.
    Has any body done an “aging” of the existing plants?Do we need this extra power in light of the decreasing demand?Is this creative accounting being proposed for Hawksbury for the benefit of consumers,or NSPI or the purported purchasers?
    Hopefully these issues will come before the PURB because we cannot continue down the present path of outsourcing our pollution to underdeveloped countries who don’t give a damm.
    Dexter must stop forcing his environmental visions on the economic well being of the remaining,aging population of NS

    Bill | June 15, 2012 | Reply

  • The govenment should not be ‘doing’ power company business. It should be ‘aware’ of it’s moribund economy and ‘set’ the tone for it’s improvement.
    Government ‘provides’ the power company monopoly in the common interest of province-wide efficiency…and then seems to interfere with company decisions. If government could determine that the monopoly was improvable (dubious), then that should be what they more properly be ‘doing’.

    gordon stanfield | June 15, 2012 | Reply