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Industry and nature make peace at former home of North America’s largest coal plant

Visiting Nanticoke Solar feels like an encounter with the age of coal at the very moment of its unravelling

Touring the grounds of the now mothballed Nanticoke Generating Station in southwestern Ontario, I didn't expect to see wildlife. The site once housed North America's largest coal-fired power plant. But as of March, it's been officially transformed. It's now home to a solar energy facility.

As our truck bumped along a gravel path above the former powerhouse, I spotted what looked like a derelict car tire. We stopped the vehicle and got out. It was an adult snapping turtle. Perhaps 30 centimetres in diameter, this was no wee pet shop critter. It snapped open its eagle beak, hissing at us. We were travelling with staffers from Ontario Power Generation, the solar project’s largest equity partner. One of them grabbed the back of the reptile’s oval shell, gently lifted it, and carried it to the side of the road.

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Canadian solar inventor says solar panels ‘almost cheaper than plywood’

JP Morgan says innovations have made solar power dirt cheap. The challenge now is getting politicians to understand this.

John Paul Morgan is showing me around his solar panel factory in Toronto’s Stockyards District, once famous for its slaughterhouses. Meat-packers still operate here, but the area is witnessing the growth of craft brewers and high-tech firms. In this neighbourhood of transition, we’re discussing the nature of invention.

Morgan, who studied engineering physics and applied science at the University of Toronto, began his work at an Ottawa telecom giant. His assignment: exploratory research in fibre optics.

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