The City of Guelph has often been a pioneer on environmental initiatives, such as the green bin for organic waste. So it’s not surprising that Guelph has developed a farsighted Community Energy Plan that emphasizes local, sustainable energy production from sources like solar, geothermal and combined heat and power and that sets ambitious targets for improving its residents’ and businesses’ energy efficiency.
But there seems to be a big disconnect between the community’s plan and what the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has in mind for the city. The OPA and Hydro One are rolling ahead with a “how we’ve always done it” plan to build a new high-voltage transmission line into Guelph to deliver power not from within the community as the Guelph Community Plan calls for, but from large centralized generators like the Darlington Nuclear Station.
The OPA insists the line is needed because on about a dozen days each summer, Guelph’s electricity demand surges when hot weather drives up air conditioning usage. What the OPA is ignoring is the potential to deal with this problem in a much more cost effective and sustainable manner. For example, currently only 3% of Guelph Hydro customers participate in the peaksaver program, which dials back air conditioners for brief periods during spikes in power use. It also ignores the natural synergy between peak demand on hot sunny days and solar power. Many Guelph residents are stuck in the queue waiting for the OPA to approve their projects through the microFIT program.
For more information please download our new report, The Guelph Transmission Line: Pulling Guelph back to the 1950s