The first letter writer claimed that coal in Ontario causes $3 billion annually in health costs. This is highly suspect, as coal continues to be phased out in the province (and replaced by natural gas-fired generation, not renewables). We shouldn’t hold our breath expecting some magical $3 billion reduction in health care costs. Also, a betting person would not take even long odds on the low prices for renewable power predicted for 2020.
The second writer made a few claims, including that fossil fuel generators cannot respond quickly to changes in demand. These generators can in fact do so, and quickly. In fact, the ability to respond as required is one of the key things being thrown out the window as coal is phased out in Ontario.
The writer also claims incorrectly that solar and wind power can be started and stopped quickly. These resources run when the sun shines and the wind blows, so controlling them is like herding cats.
These resources often contribute to over-supply situations, causing big operating challenges for nuclear operators and hugely subsidized exports from the Ontario grid (paid for by Ontario consumers). Blaming these dynamics on nuclear and, in particular fossil fuel generators is ridiculous.
Bruce Sharp, Senior Consultant, Aegent Energy Advisors Inc., Toronto