Ontario must act now to ensure future energy conservation

2012CDMv2 cover The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario released Volume Two of his 2011 Annual Energy Conservation Progress Report to the Legislature on January 8th, 2013.

Ontario Government Must Act Now to Ensure Energy Conservation in the Future

January 8, 2013 – Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner, Gord Miller, says uncertainty about the future of electricity conservation programs is discouraging further energy savings in Ontario.

Miller today released Volume Two of his 2011 Annual Energy Conservation Progress Report. This report annually reviews reductions in energy usage, increases in energy efficiency, and the progress and barriers to energy conservation. Volume One of the report was released in June, 2012.

The report shows that Ontario’s electricity conservation programs are cost effective and cheaper than generating power to supply demand. The cost of each kilowatt-hour saved through 2011 conservation programs was about 3 cents.

Yet the Environmental Commissioner found the government has been slower than expected in building a culture of conservation in Ontario, a goal announced by the government in 2004. “It’s been almost a decade, and we still have not gone beyond the foundation work to actually build the rest of the structure.”

A critical pressure point was relieved recently when the government announced it was extending the conservation programs for the province’s local distribution companies (LDCs) for a year beyond their December 31, 2014 termination date.

“This was an important development, but it is not a permanent solution,” said Miller. “The extension of the programs only highlights the need for a long-term commitment to funding conservation within electricity planning. The government needs to make conservation the new normal, so that everyone can build it into their business plans. Local distribution companies (LDCs) and suppliers have expressed reluctance to invest in needed programs without this assurance. Also, consumers and businesses may hesitate to sign up for programs with uncertain futures.”

In his review, the Environmental Commissioner also evaluated the progress made towards meeting the 2014 electricity conservation targets that had previously been established for the province’s LDCs. The report covers results from 2011, which was the first year of the new conservation framework that assigned LDCs a larger role in delivering conservation programs.

The report found that while the distribution companies were on track to meet their target of reducing total electricity usage by 6,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) between 2011 and 2014, they would fall one-third short of needed reductions in the peak electricity demand. This could lead to increased use of natural gas-fired plants to meet this peak demand.

The Progress Report also discovered significant differences in the conservation accomplishments of LDCs. One of the findings was that LDC size was not a strong predictor of achievement.

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2 thoughts on “Ontario must act now to ensure future energy conservation

  1. Well stated. I am especially frustrated by Ministry of Energy staff who enacted Reg.397/11 for BPS to have new 5 year conservation and demand management plans for July 1, 2014 to July 1, 2019 but incentive programs that end in 2015. Bit of a disconnect!

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  2. I read in the Star today (January 9, 2003 Page B1 that the Environment Commissioner would like to see Peak Electrical Prices 3-5 times the lowest price. I assume this would mean RAISING the peak price not LOWERING the lowest price. I believe this is wrong. As a senior I have seen my electrical bill rise even though my wife and I do as much as possible to lower our peak electricity demand. We lower the thermostat at night but we can’t sit around the house freezing during the day. I tried to turn my frigerator off during the peak hours but it didn’t work out very well. We don’t use AC in the summer, we much rather sit under the shade of our maple trees. I noticed that the winter peak prices are between 7-11 and 5-7. This is PRECISELY the time when parents with small children are either getting ready to go to school or are having their supper. No hot cereal for Johnny! If the (so called) SMART meters are all that smart, the utility should be able to tell what kind of electrical appliance is using the electricity and react accordingly.

    I am also wondering how much the electrical savings was from the shutting down of our manufacturers?

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