Toronto’s Sustainable Energy Strategy

Speaking Notes For
Jack Gibbons
Ontario Clean Air Alliance

October 14, 2009

Good evening. I am Jack Gibbons of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you tonight.

We strongly support Toronto’s draft Sustainable Energy Strategy. Tonight I would like to speak to you about how it can be implemented without raising taxes.

Toronto can achieve its energy goals without raising taxes by helping the Province of Ontario to meet its electricity needs.

Until recently Ontario was planning to meet its electricity needs by a combination of Made-in-Ontario green power and new nuclear reactors. However, in June, Energy Minister Smitherman suspended the nuclear procurement process.

As a consequence, the Ontario Power Authority or OPA must now purchase massive amounts of alternative resources to keep the lights on. The lowest cost options to replace our aging nuclear fleet are energy conservation and efficiency; combined heat and power and water power imports from Quebec.

Toronto doesn’t have untapped water power resources to sell to the OPA, but it does have huge untapped energy conservation and efficiency and combined heat and power resources that it can sell to the OPA.

Let’s start with energy conservation. The City and Toronto Hydro are leaders in the promotion of energy conservation, but we still have a huge untapped potential. So the City should develop an inventory of the energy efficiency investment opportunities in its municipal buildings and ask the OPA to fund all of these projects. In addition, the City should direct Toronto Hydro to implement very ambitious energy conservation programmes and to seek full funding from the OPA for these programmes.

Let’s now turn to combined heat and power. Toronto is very inefficient in its use of natural gas. We use gas in our homes and buildings just to produce heat. And we use gas in power plants, like Portlands, just to produce electricity. It is much more efficient to use gas to simultaneously produce two services, namely, heat and electricity. This is what combined heat and power plants do.

Small-scale, but highly efficient combined heat and power plants can provide a number of benefits for Toronto. They can reduce our total natural gas-related GHG emissions; they can help us avoid the need for the East Toronto Transmission Line; and they can greatly increase our security of supply in the event of a blackout.

The City should create an inventory of its buildings that are good candidates for small-scale CHP plants and it should ask the OPA to fund all these projects. And the City should also encourage all the other owners of large buildings in Toronto to do the same.

Finally, it is important to note that Enbridge Gas Distribution has some of the best natural gas energy conservation programmes in North America. However, like Toronto Hydro, Enbridge’s conservation programmes are just scratching the surface of the total potential. Therefore the City should participate in Ontario Energy Board hearings in order to persuade the Energy Board to dramatically increase Enbridge’s energy conservation budget. This will simultaneously reduce Toronto’s GHG emissions, lower our energy bills and reduce the outflow of Toronto dollars to Alberta to purchase natural gas.

Thank you for your attention. If you have any questions, I would be pleased to answer them.