Ontario Opening New Programs to Reduce Electricity Use During Peak Times

Ontario’s power grid operator plans to roll out a voluntary program that pays customers with smart thermostats to have their air conditioning turned down remotely on hot summer days.

Energy Minister Todd Smith had asked the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to suggest new conservation initiatives as the province seeks to manage growing demand for electrification, La Presse reports. Canadian. On Tuesday, it announced it had accepted its recommendations and would introduce new, expanded programs from next year, at a cost of C$342 million.

One of the programs will allow households with central air conditioning and a smart thermostat to volunteer to allow the IESO to reduce their cooling load to reduce peak demand on certain summer days, and receive an incentive not yet specified.

“This expansion will provide enough annual electricity savings to power approximately 130,000 homes each year and reduce costs to consumers by more than $650 million,” Smith said at a news conference. “It’s a win for customers, it’s a win for the climate and a win for Ontario.

The IESO estimates there are 600,000 smart thermostats across provinces, with nearly three-quarters in single-family homes, based on discussions with manufacturers, a spokesperson said. The energy mix in an email. Based on the experience of other North American jurisdictions, the program is expected to reach 15% of such households in the first year.

The government has said that over a period of up to 20 years, the programs will result in three million tonnes of greenhouse gas emission reductions, writes CP.

Programs also include support for greenhouses in Southwestern Ontario, such as incentives for installing LED lighting, solar power generation or battery storage, as well as program enhancements Save on energy for businesses, institutions and municipalities.

“Whether it’s funding municipalities to upgrade chillers at their local rinks or arenas, funding a hospital to perform HVAC or air handler upgrades, or funding a local business for building upgrades like new insulation or better windows and doors,” Smith said “all of these upgrades would not only reduce demand on the provincial grid, but also reduce energy consumption and costs. operating.”

Opposition parties in Ontario said the programs announced Tuesday do not even replace a number of energy-saving programs previously cut by the Progressive Conservative government, such as an incentive to buy heating equipment and energy efficient air conditioning systems and energy efficiency incentives for new buildings.

“This program is woefully inadequate to address the climate crisis and electricity shortage facing Ontario,” said Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner.

“A small incentive targeting a select group of owners, disguised as an energy efficiency program, fails to compensate for the efficiency programs (Premier Doug) Ford canceled four years ago.”

Over the past several months, the IESO has been planning new conservation initiatives and seeking to procure new, much of it high-emitting electricity generation, while seeking to address an upcoming electricity supply shortfall, the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station being about to shut down and demand rising.

But Smith said last week that the province plans to operate Pickering for an additional year, until 2026, and possibly refurbish it to operate for another 30 years, as “unprecedented growth” in areas such as electric vehicle manufacturing means demand could grow even faster than previously anticipated. This was despite a successful consultation report, released last week, showing that distributed energy resources could fill the whole gap with the right political backing.

The IESO asserts that conservation is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to mitigate demand.

Critics of the Progressive Conservative government say the province wouldn’t be in such a supply crisis if it hadn’t canceled 758 green power contracts during Ford’s first term.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on October 4, 2022.

Carol N. Valencia