April 4, 2017 – Paul Morden, The Observer – A controversial natural gas-fired plant in St. Clair Township is now able to generate electricity for the Ontario power market.
On March 21, the Greenfield South Power Corporation generating facility on Oil Springs Line completed its market registration requirements, said Chuck Farmer, director of stakeholder and public affairs with Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO.)
“What that means is it basically met all the requirements to produce electricity in the Ontario electricity market,” Farmer said.
It will be able to operate under the company’s 20-year contract to supply electricity to the Independent Electricity System Operator once it meets commercial operations requirements, Farmer said.
Until then, it can operate as a “merchant plant,” offering energy into the market, Farmer said.
The Greenfield South station was “dispatched” to deliver electricity into the grid briefly on March 27, according to the IESO.
It said the facility is one of 30 natural gas generating stations in the province.
“The gas fleet in Ontario provides a very important function,” Farmer said.
“They’re generally quite flexible and they can adjust their output quite quickly, in response to signals from the grid.”
Natural gas makes up about 25 per cent of the installed electricity generation capacity in Ontario, Farmer said.
Construction of the $360-million 289-MW Greenfield South Power plant began in 2013.
Toronto-based Eastern Power was allowed to build in St. Clair Township after the Ontario Government called a halt in 2011 to construction of a gas plant the company had initially been contracted to build in Mississauga.
Pressure from voters in Mississauga and Oakville led to the cancelling of natural gas plant projects in those communities at a cost to the province of as much as $1.1 billion, according to Ontario’s auditor general.
The Mississauga project continued to attract controversy after it moved to St. Clair Township when picket lines were set up by unionized construction workers complaining about safety on the job site.
After a picket line in August 2015, opposition parties raised the issue in the Ontario Legislature, and the Ministry of Labour appointed a mediator to improve labour relations at the site.
The ministry also laid charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act against Greenfield South Power Corporation. A trial began this week in Sarnia court, and is scheduled to continue next week.