Guelph Tribune
December 31, 2012
Mike Darmon

Letter to the Editor

We have reached a critical point in Guelph with regards to our future sources of energy. Hydro One and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) are in the process of planning new transmission lines in South Guelph to deal with peak summer demand for energy, which is putting a strain our our infrastructure .A gas fired generating peaker plant may also be built.They say we must move ahead with this project or face possible blackouts during these periods.

The Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA) and City staff say there are better and more cost effective ways to alleviate the problem.For instance we can reduce the peak summer load -which can be 50% higher than normal loads, with some simple solutions.These higher loads are caused mainly by air conditioners and other high energy use appliances running continuously during these times . If we can even out this load we have solved some of the problem.

One solution is the Peaksaver Plus program offered totally free by Guelph Hydro ..Through this program Guelph Hydro installs devices which cycles these appliances on and off during the peak periods and reduces the spike in power demand.In addition it will also save you money on your energy bill and includes other incentives to join.Currently only 3% of residents and small businesses are enrolled according to OCCA . If a high percentage of enrollment is achieved we could reduce a large percentage of the peak demand.

We also have an award winning Community Energy Plan (CEP) in Guelph.This plan currently has proposals submitted to the OPA which include solar panels (that produce maximum power during hot summer days)which would reduce the maximum peak summer load by 20%.The OPA has not approved these projects but instead is planning on rebuilding nuclear stations and building new ones .

The point we have reached with our decision as to WHERE our energy comes from is NOW..

We have solutions that will give us a secure energy future without the higher cost and high risk of nuclear energy.

We have faced this problem with water demand in the recent past due to projections for population growth.The solution proposed was the pipeline to Lake Erie

Guelph rejected this plan and instead embarked on an aggressive, lower cost, award winning water conservation program.

The population of Guelph has grown by 13% between 2001 and 2010 but we have REDUCED total water taking by 20%.

We can do the same with energy.

What can you do to help right now? Call Guelph Hydro and enroll in the Peaksaver Plus Program. Support our own Community Energy Plan by writing to the OPA and telling them to approve the projects submitted to them… For more information www.cleanairalliance.org

Mike Darmon