Ontario’s efforts to replace the power generated by its dirty coal plants are definitely bearing fruit. The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has now contracted for enough new supply to replace the power currently coming from our coal plants by 2010. The province is also gradually increasing the power that comes from distributed generation sources like wind and combined heat and power plants, with close to a third of the newly contracted power set to come from these smaller sources.
But the OPA clearly still has some work to do on ramping up its demand management and conservation efforts. For example, the OPA has contracted for just 308 MW of demand response measures, compared to the more than 10,600 megawatts (MW) of new supply that it has secured. Companies that sign demand response contracts agree to reduce their power usage during peak periods, thereby helping us avoid the need to build expensive new power plants and transmission lines just to meet peak demand that may last for only a few hours a year. The potential for this kind of zero-impact replacement power is much bigger than what we are seeing in the OPA’s current numbers.
Similarly, the OPA’s spending on conservation is completely out of line with its spending on new supply. While new supply sources are costing us more than $16 billion, the OPA has spent just $115 million on conservation efforts. And while we always say that conservation is a much lower cost supply option than building new power plants, this gap is many times larger than it should be. Ontario really needs to match the kinds of efforts being made in places like California to increase the efficiency of our energy use and to make our industries more competitive.
]For more information, please see the new fact sheet, Replacing coal-fired electricity: A summary of the Ontario Power Authority’s procurement efforts, available on our website at www.cleanairalliance.org. Please pass this message on to your friends.
Jessica Fracassi Communications & Membership Manager
402-625 Church St, Toronto M4Y 2G1
Phone: 416-926-1907 ext. 245