Maxim Power Corp. is racing to beat proposed federal emission regulations that could derail its plan to build a 500-megawatt coal-fired power plant in the mountains of western Alberta.Andrew Leach, an environmental economist at the University of Alberta, has further comments.
The Calgary-based, TSX-listed company won approval to build the $1.7-billion plant from the Alberta Utilities Commission last week, after arguing it needed an immediate decision to meet an ambitious time line that would allow it to avoid the tough new federal regime.
Environment Minister Peter Kent is expected to release the government’s electricity regulations later this month, but Maxim says the company received assurances from Mr. Kent that it would not be subject to the regulations so long as it began operations before July 1, 2015.
So when you add it all together, the AUC provided an expeditious approval to a coal-fired power plant so that it could sneak under the wire and not be covered by new federal regulations. Approval was granted without any of the conditions attached to the approval of a similar plant 10 years ago – conditions recently upheld by the same AUC. Perhaps most importantly, despite the world’s eyes being focused on Alberta’s actions on environmental issues, the AUC found a new coal-fired power plant to be clearly in the public interest despite the fact that it will likely make our environmental commitments billions of dollars more expensive to achieve, not to mention that it will harm our health, air quality, and waterways in the process.
Someone has to fill in the blanks for me on this one, because I don’t get it.