Energy conservation on target in Ontario


Peter Love,
Ontario’s Chief Energy
Conservation Officer
Toronto, ON, Canada — (METERING.COM) — July 5, 2007 – Ontario’s Chief Energy Conservation Officer, Peter Love, reports that Ontarians are well on their way to achieving the province’s short-term conservation target of reducing peak electricity demand by 1,350 megawatts (MW) by the end of 2007. In a supplement to his 2006 Annual Report Love notes that programs delivered through to the end of 2006 by the provincial government, the Chief Energy Conservation Officer, the Ontario Power Authority and local distribution companies have achieved peak energy savings of 1,080 MW. The supplement also fulfills the Chief Energy Conservation Officer’s duty to report to the government and the citizens of the province on Ontario’s progress toward meeting its conservation goals.

“I’m pleased with the results to date—this is a good start to using a precious resource wisely, saving money, and helping the environment,” said Love. “But we have a long way to go and we have a long hot summer ahead of us. Watch for a variety of summer conservation programs: The Great Refrigerator Roundup, a residential and small commercial demand response program called Peaksaver, Summer Savings and Every Kilowatt Counts—they are your tickets to conserving electricity.”

Highlights from the supplement include:

  • Ontario’s electricity consumers have reduced peak demand by approximately 1,080 megawatts to the end of 2006, including 350 megawatts of naturally occurring conservation.  
  • The five Ontario Power Authority-coordinated conservation programs delivered in 2006 resulted in annual savings of 378 million kilowatt-hours and a reduction in the summer peak demand of approximately 110 megawatts.  
  • Ontario’s local distribution companies reported achieving substantial electricity savings, including approximately 140 megawatts of peak-demand reduction and lifetime savings of 3.5 billion kilowatt-hours.
  • Amendments to the Ontario Building Code, announced in June 2006, increased energy-efficiency requirements and will save Ontario an estimated 550 megawatts of electricity over the next eight years.  
  • The Ozone Depleting Substances regulation, passed in 2006, will phase out remaining uses of chlorofluorocarbons in large refrigeration and air conditioning equipment and chillers, which could save between 50 and 175 megawatts of electricity.

To the end of 2006, the Ontario Power Authority’s Conservation Fund had provided $2.5 million in funding for 37 action-oriented, sector-specific electricity conservation pilot projects. The Technology Development Fund supported 13 projects in 2006 with a total of more than $736,000 in funding to promote the development and commercialization of technologies or applications that could help to reduce electricity consumption or demand.

Not everyone sees the report’s findings in such a positive light, however. Don MacKinnon, President of the Power Workers’ Union – the largest electricity union in Ontario – suggests that important details have been omitted from the report that make it difficult for Ontarians to establish whether enough progress on conservation and demand issues is being made.  

"Energy efficiency must make a contribution to Ontario’s energy needs," said MacKinnon. "But without knowing exactly what that contribution is, and what it costs, this province will end up with an electricity plan that leaves Ontario consumers, the financial viability of the local distribution companies (LDCs) and the future of this province’s electricity supply exposed to unnecessary risks."

The PWU suggests that there should be clarity about who is responsible for CDM program execution, and that comprehensive and transparent CDM evaluation, measurement and validation programs should be developed, so that consumers can evaluate the results for themselves. The province’s drive to equip every home and business with a smart meter by 2010, in order to assist consumers to use less energy, hasn’t come cheap, and the PWU believes that energy customers should have all the information they need to judge whether the smart meters are making a significant contribution to reducing energy consumption.