SooToday received the following letter to the editor from Bud Wildman, former NDP MPP for the Algoma District who served as Minister of Environment and Energy from 1993 to 1995, regarding the limitations of northern Ontario's power grid.
I agree with this article about the inadequacy of the power grid in Northern Ontario. It limits economic development in Northern communities like Sault Ste. Marie.
This should not come as a surprise. The need to upgrade the capacity of the Northern power grid has been well known for years.
When Algoma Steel first announced that it was constructing a new electric arc furnace to lower its carbon emissions, many of us asked how the company would be able to obtain the electric power required to operate the new cleaner technology. Then, it came out that Algoma would have to generate the additional electricity it would need to operate the new furnace by natural gas (with the concomitant CO2 emissions) in the interim, until the Northern public power grid is upgraded sometime in the future.
The Ford Conservative government is trying to have it both ways by touting electricity generation as the power to replace fossil fuels for a ‘cleaner, greener’ provincial economy, but proposing to generate new electricity in natural gas plants and to emit more CO2 into the atmosphere. In the same way, Ford boasts about Algoma Steel's new ‘clean’ technology, even though he is well aware that the power to operate it will be generated by natural gas with its carbon footprint for the foreseeable future.
Sault City Council has passed a resolution criticizing the province’s electricity planning, which currently will not see the Northern electric power grid upgraded to enable it to transmit additional electricity across the North until at least the end of the decade. Council is right. The inadequate transmission grid continues to limit economic development in Northern communities like the Sault and to stymie efforts to lower our CO2 emissions.
– Bud Wildman