Ontario businesses can help meet energy conservation targets


Adam White,
Executive Director,
Toronto, ON, Canada — (METERING.COM) — December 20, 2007 – With changes in government policy, regulation and incentives, the significant potential of Ontario’s business consumers to help achieve the provincial government’s ambitious energy conservation targets could be unlocked, according to the Association of Major Power Consumers in Ontario (AMPCO).

In a new report, “Conservation through Dialogue and Design”, that has been submitted to the Conservation Fund of the Ontario Power Authority, AMPCO says that energy conservation represents a significant opportunity for businesses in Ontario, but that changes are needed to create the right conditions to realize its potential. Moreover, in almost every case business conservation can be implemented more quickly and at lower cost than the alternative of increasing energy supply.

Research conducted for the report found that business consumers are already highly aware of energy efficiency issues but that economic barriers impede their pursuit of conservation efforts. Moreover, they need to see immediate value from conservation investments in order to justify making them.

Business consumers voiced a strong demand for trustworthy, streamlined, practical information on best practices, programs, resources, networking. They also felt that initially programs with many small and short term energy savings successes would be most effective, and given the diversity of their infrastructures and resources, that they are better positioned to come up with effective initiatives for their own use than are third-parties such as utilities.

On the basis of these findings AMPCO concludes that to achieve meaningful energy conservation targets, Ontario must move beyond high-level marketing initiatives and pursue long-term programs to accelerate improvement in industrial energy use as well as to engage broader business consumer groups and communities.

Business leaders appreciate the objectives, but require specific information that translates into nuts-and-bolts energy saving projects. Their interest in and appetite for energy conservation is a reflection of the competitive environment in which they function. They can identify significant opportunities to save energy, but not without long term planning, considerable investment, risk and the patience to weather low rates of return and long pay-back periods.

If conservation is to out-compete the supply alternative, consumers must be directly engaged, with such action supported by good information and analysis. Furthermore, programs must be simple and easy to enter into, without complicated contracts or expensive legal reviews, and they must deliver sufficient incentives to overcome existing economic barriers.

“There are abundant un-tapped opportunities for improved energy efficiency and conservation within Ontario businesses,” says Adam White, executive director of AMPCO. “Success should be measured by Ontario’s ability to save the most energy at the lowest overall cost.”