December 9th, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 48
Coal Association of Canada backs council’s stance on coal
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Source: Coal Association of Canada website
Pass Herald Reporter
The president of the Coal Association of Canada applauded council’s decision to oppose the provincial government’s plan to phase out coal fired power plants.

“I think it’s important for all small towns and counties that depend on coal to understand the damage this is going to do to their communities,” said Coal Association of Canada president Robin Campbell.

Campbell said the NDP government should instead invest in research and development to allow the power plants to continue to burn coal.

“To shut down coal generation will affect Alberta’s ability to supply electricity to industries, it’s going to affect normal residents’ power bills,” said Campbell. “I think the government is being very short sighted.”

The Pass has joined a handful of other communities opposed to Premier Rachel Notley's plan for an accelerated phasing out of coal-fired plants in Alberta.

According to a government news release, Alberta would phase out all pollution created by burning coal and transition to more renewable energy and natural gas generation by 2030. Two-thirds of coal-generated electricity will be replaced by renewables — primarily wind power. Renewable energy sources will comprise up to 30 per cent of Alberta's electricity production by 2030.

Council said the plan would hurt rural communities and increase electricity costs and agreed to sign a letter addressed to the Premier opposing the phase-out at a council meeting on Nov. 24.
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“To have new renewable energy resources in place and coal facilities shut down all in 15 years, I don’t think it’s achievable,” said Councillor Bill Kovach. “Those communities depend on those industries. It could be like what we went through way back in the 1950s in the Crowsnest Pass when we lost our coal mines and then we lost half our people.”

“I think we should support this,” said Councillor Dean Ward regarding the draft letter to the Premier. “This decision on coal was based a whole lot more on politics than it was on common sense and economics.”

The letter said the government’s climate change and renewable energy strategies will have significant consequences for the economy, jobs, communities and citizens of Alberta.

“It is inevitable that consumers will be immeasurable impacted through higher electricity rates,” said the letter. “We recognize and support the need for progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions; however, we feel a balanced and phased transition would have far less impact on the livelihoods of thousands of Albertans and their families.”
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In the letter, the communities supported an industry led counter-proposal to the government’s plan advanced by TransAlta, ATCO and Maxim, called the Dial Down Coal-Dial Up Renewables.

The three companies have made submissions to the province’s climate change policy panel on how to reduce emissions from coal. The companies would start “dialling down” their coal operations by 20 per cent, starting in 2016, and put a hard cap on greenhouse gas emissions.

Under their proposal, coal power would decline from two-thirds of Alberta’s electricity to 10 per cent by 2030.

Their plan also calls for heavy investments into renewable resources including a hydroelectric expansion on the North Saskatchewan River.
December 9th ~ Vol. 85 No. 48
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