The Independent Electricity System Operators’ Central Toronto Region Integrated Regional Resource Plan fails to achieve its No. 1 objective: Keeping the lights on in the central part of our largest city.
Instead of looking at what new technologies and new systems could do for Canada’s largest city, the plan sticks with the status quo of large nuclear plants sending power over two transmission lines to the heart of the city.
The plan recommends the development of just one new energy conservation program. At a time when technologies like LED lighting and intelligent power controls are taking off, our energy planners are still in denial about the power of efficiency to reshape power demand in our biggest city.
Similarly, instead of embracing small-scale power generation to increase our ability to keep the lights on in the event of a provincial or eastern North American blackout, the plan puts the development of combined heat and power systems off to some future point.
The result is that the plan fails in its No. 1 objective: Keeping the lights on. It leaves the current regime of largely inadequate emergency power systems in place for vital services like hospitals and transit as well as for our growing sea of condos and high rises. These current systems are not designed to keep systems running and buildings habitable: they are designed to allow for orderly shutdowns and building evacuations. Not what people want or expect.
The provincial government needs to send the IESO back to the drawing board, and this time it needs to invite some fresh thinking into the room by involving a much wider range of stakeholders in developing a plan that will actually keep the lights on.