By Anthony Capkun
December 4, 2013 – Ontario’s updated Long-Term Energy Plan, “Achieving Balance”, encourages conservation, says the Ministry of Energy, and lays out a plan for “clean, reliable and affordable energy for Ontarians, where and when they need it”.
“This plan reflects what we heard from thousands of people and dozens of organizations right across the province,” said Bob Chiarelli, minister of energy. The 2013 LTEP balances five principles that will guide future decisions:
• clean energy
• community engagement
• conservation and demand management before building new generation
Compared to the previous plan, the ministry says “Achieving Balance” is expected to reduce projected cost increases by $16 billion in the near term (2013-2017) and $70 billion to 2030.
Ontario aims to achieve balance in the energy sector by:
• Decreasing the need for new supply by implementing conservation programs and standards to offset most growth in electricity demand over the next 20 years.
“We’re supportive of the indication we see in today’s plan that local distribution companies will be much more central to conservation initiatives going forward, including a more prominent role in program design and delivery, and more flexibility in addressing local needs,” said Rene Gatien, chair of the Electricity Distributors Association (EDA).
• Lowering costs for consumers. Compared to LTEP 2010, residential customers can expect to pay about $520 less over the next five years and $3800 less to 2030, while industrial consumers can expect to pay $3 million less over the next five years and $11 million less to 2030.
• Expanding demand-response programs to help achieve a 10% reduction in peak demand by 2025. This is equivalent to about 2400MW under today’s forecast conditions.
• Making new financing tools available to consumers starting in 2015, including programs to incent energy efficiency retrofits to residential properties.
• Moving ahead with nuclear refurbishment at both Darlington and Bruce Generating Stations, beginning in 2016.
“Today’s energy plan update means Ontario has chosen to invest in another 25 to 30 years of safe, affordable and reliable electrical power, while offsetting enormous volumes of greenhouse gases,” said Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) president Dr. John Barrett.
• Extending the phasing-in of wind, solar and bioenergy for three more years than estimated in the 2010 LTEP, with 10,700MW online by 2021. By 2025, about half of Ontario’s installed generating capacity will come from renewable sources.
“Ontario must continue to pursue options that provide reliable electricity, stabilize electricity prices, promote community economic development and protect the environment,” said Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) president Robert Hornung. “Wind energy has proven to be an increasingly favourable option for addressing these important public needs.”
• Developing a new competitive procurement process with the Ontario Power Authority for future renewable projects larger than 500kW.
• Continuing to encourage First Nation and Metis participation in transmission and renewable energy projects.
“We applaud the provincial government on its support for a project that will provide our communities with safe, reliable and clean energy,” said Margaret Kenequanash of Wataynikaneyap Power. “We look forward to the day when we can tie into the provincial electricity grid… and leave costly diesel generation behind.”
• Issuing an annual Ontario Energy Report to update Ontarians on changing supply and demand conditions, and to outline the progress to date on the LTEP.