In 2013, the Ontario Government released their newest Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) for the province. The plan, which has been met with a mix of criticism and applause, maps out the Province’s energy goals through to the year 2032. Along with outlining the anticipated change in generation makeup throughout this timeframe, the plan also outlines initiatives that the Province will implement and utilize to ensure that electricity supply is sufficient and that costs are mitigated during this period. Although the LTEP does outline significant cost savings that should mitigate larger rate increases, costs are still forecast to increase for the foreseeable future as new construction, maintenance, and refurbishment projects will continue to drive rates up.
Among the many policies and ideas included in the long term energy plan:
- There is a focus on energy efficiency, conservation and energy literacy. The costs to ratepayers of generating electricity and building new generation can be effectively mitigated by not requiring that electricity in the first place. By reducing the amount of electricity that has to be used, the costly building of new generation can be avoided. The only way to achieve these lofty goals is through consumers’ increased understanding of how energy is used and how they can conserve in their homes and businesses.
- No new nuclear generators will be built in Ontario in this timeframe, but reactors at Darlington and Bruce generating stations are set to be refurbished in the timeframe specified in the LTEP. Pickering Nuclear will go offline in 2020 at the latest.
- There will be emphasis on Combined Heat and Power (CHP) opportunities in a variety of different industries, particularly in greenhouse operations where all by-products of CHP (heat, electricity and CO2) can be utilized.
- Renewable energy and other energy infrastructure will continue to come online, with more focus on local requirements and considerations. Wind, solar, and biomass will continue to come online to meet the province’s energy requirements.
- New transmission infrastructure will continue to be built, with particular focus on Northwestern Ontario. Much of this region’s infrastructure is either outdated or absent, and connecting remote First Nation communities will become a priority. Transmission built in these regions will also facilitate potential development of the “Ring of Fire”, an important mining resource for Ontario. Currently, development has been stalled due to the area’s remoteness and lack of infrastructure.
- Increased focus on innovation. Energy storage technologies will continue to be developed and will also be considered in Ontario’s new competitive procurement process for renewable energy projects.
- Natural gas infrastructure will continue to be expanded within the province, so that rural and northern communities will have access.
While many issues such as rising Global Adjustment costs have gone relatively unaddressed in the outlook, conservation measures, one of the most important and least costly for mitigating rising energy costs, are figured prominently in the report. 360 Energy couldn’t agree more that energy efficiency is, by far, the best way for not only the province, but for the individual ratepayer, to save on energy costs.
Through a combination of reducing energy intensity, overall load, peak loads/demand response and load shifting, Ontario has already successfully reduced its peak energy consumption. The record all-time peak Ontario demand of 27,005 megawatts has not been reached or surpassed since the summer of 2006. Since then, Ontario’s population has increased by 1,378,000 people, yet the peak yearly load has actually decreased by 2,864 MW, and overall consumption has decreased from 151 TWh in 2006 to 141 TWh in 2012 (or 12.42 MW consumed per person per year in 2006 down to 10.41 MW per person per year in 2012). These are all clear signs that energy literacy is increasing, and that energy management initiatives have been effective so far.
There is however, a great deal more to be done. 360 Energy works with customers in the Municipal, Industrial, and Greenhouse sectors in managing their electricity and natural gas costs through changing the way they use energy within their organizations. It is 360 Energy’s mission to help these organizations understand how they use energy and how they can use it not only more efficiently, but how to pay less for what they use. It is 360 Energy’s goal to instill an energy excellence ‘mentality’ throughout organizations by helping customers improve their level of energy literacy. Looking at the bigger picture, this equates to lower requirements for generation, less new generation that has to be installed, which results in lower costs for all ratepayers.