OPG to close Thunder Bay Generating Station

Officials from the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) have announced the closure of the Thunder Bay Generating Station on Friday morning.

OPG and IESO announced the closure on Friday morning

Due to significant corrosion damage to the boiler at the Thunder Bay Generating Station, OPG and IESO announced on Friday morning that the station would close.

Officials from Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) have announced the closure of the Thunder Bay Generating Station on Friday morning.

"The plant has been available ...and it has run when its been needed," said Chris Fralick, OPG's Chief Operational Officer of the Renewable Generation Division.

"One of the unfortunate realities is that the demand in the northwest is very soft and the station has not been needed to run very often, so that and a number of other external factors," Fralick said, "contributed to the conclusion that the station was not needed."

OPG said on Friday that there was significant corrosion damage to the boiler found in late May.

"In one of our routine inspections, we uncovered an area of the boiler that had incurred some significant corrosion damage ... to the point where we are no longer able to operate the unit without significant repair," Fralick explained.

He said after discussions with the IESO about the prospects for the future of the station, it was decided that "the termination was the logical path forward."

"This decision will save the rate payers of Ontario $40 million dollars," Fralick said.

He said because of the lack of demand in the northwest, the repaired boiler would only be used, on average, for two and a half days of the year.

Currently there are 70 employees that work at the Thunder Bay Generating Station, who also maintain the local hydroelectric stations in Kakabeka Falls and Silver Falls.

Fralick added, "the employees will be given options for where they would like to work, and [OPG] will work with the unions to determine what that process is and minimize the impact on people." 

Once all the employees have been reassigned, Fralick said a small team will be responsible for decommissioning the site in a "responsible manner."

"Our focus today is on getting the discussions and the processes with the union to treat the staff fairly," he said, "but we will quickly move into focusing on the station and getting it decommissioned and ultimately demolished," Fralick said.

"That will take a number of years."

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