February 13, 2012

OPA drops the ball on CHP, again

It’s been close to five years since the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) was ordered by the Minister of Energy to develop a standard offer program for small scale, high-efficiency combined heat and power (CHP) plants. Such systems use the same molecules of natural gas to produce both heat and electricity, making them an excellent way of improving the efficiency of natural gas use while meeting the electricity needs of factories, high-rises, hospitals and commercial buildings.

Sadly, after five years of tortoise-like progress, all we have to show for the OPA’s long awaited CHP standard offer program is a measly 5.9 megawatts (MW) of contracted power. That’s despite an official target of 150 MW, and the OPA receiving 49 applications totalling 277 MW in response to its call for proposals in mid-2011.

It seems that the OPA remains more interested in developing nuclear mega-projects than really pursuing more effective options like CHP, energy efficiency and hydro imports from Quebec. At a time when the Bruce A refurbishment project is more than two years late and $2 billion over budget, the OPA insists that many CHP projects are not cost effective. Where’s the logic?

Please email Energy Minister Chris Bentley (and cc me) and ask him to pursue the clean and green options – energy efficiency, CHP and water power imports from Quebec – that can keep our lights on and reduce our energy bills.

Thank you,

Angela Bischoff

P.S.  Don’t forget to enter our Guess the Cost of the Bruce A Refurbishment Contest and earn a chance to win $100 cash. 

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