What Toronto really needs
All of those glass walled condos popping up in the Toronto downtown core mean more than just more coffee bars – they also mean increased electricity demand on an aging downtown distribution grid. Toronto Hydro is proposing to spend $272 million on a new transformer station to carry on with business as usual. The problems with this approach are many:
- It will mean pumping more power into the city from distant nuclear generating stations instead of getting smart about power use and local generation;
- It will leave downtown residents still vulnerable to blackouts if one or two links in Hydro-One’s high-voltage transmission system fail;
- It could require the building of a third high-voltage transmission line through Scarborough and East Toronto to supply sufficient power with sufficient reliability;
- It does nothing to reduce climate damaging emissions driven by Toronto’s growing condo forest.
A new OCAA report is proposing another approach which would be cheaper, more efficient, more secure and more modern:
- Insist that these condos become part of district energy systems (including deep lake water cooling – about to be expanded by Enwave);
- Install combined heat and power / geothermal heating and cooling systems which would ensure security of supply even during black-outs;
- Every building should incorporate solar energy generation, perfect for meeting the power demands of air conditioning on hot sunny summer days. (There are also solar thermal air conditioning options that can be used.)
- Finally, we must much more aggressively reward energy efficient building practices and peak demand reduction. The technologies for both of these are simple and straightforward – we’re just not using them widely enough!
This approach will lead to lower costs for all Torontonians, fewer climate-threatening emissions and a reduced blackout risk for downtown residents.
It’s time for the City of Toronto Councillors on the Toronto Hydro board to tell the city-owned utility to fully develop our city’s power potential. We need a modern, efficient system for a modern city, not a plan from the 1950s! Please send them a message right now – it’s quick and easy.
p.s. Sending your message will only take you 2 minutes – please do so now!