Ontario Expands Energy-Efficiency Programs

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Ontario’s electric system operator plans to roll out a plan to pay customers with smart thermostats to remotely turn down air conditioning on hot summer days.

It’s one of the conservation initiatives recommended by the Independent Energy System Operator (IESO) that Energy Minister Todd Smith adopted Tuesday morning as the province seeks to manage rising demand from electrification.

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Smith says they will roll out new and expanded projects starting next year at a cost of $342 million.

“This expansion will help provide enough annual electricity savings for about 130,000 homes each year and reduce costs for consumers by more than $650 million,” he told a news conference.

“It’s a win for customers, it’s a win for the climate and it’s a win for Ontario.”

Smith says the plans announced Tuesday will provide substantial benefits to all ratepayers by 2025. Over a lifetime of up to 20 years, the government says the projects will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by three million tonnes.

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One of the plans would allow IESO to volunteer households with central air conditioning and smart thermostats to reduce peak demand on certain summer days and receive an as-yet-unspecified incentive.

They also include support for greenhouses in Southwestern Ontario — incentives to install LED lighting or resources like solar generation or battery storage — as well as improvements to energy conservation programs for businesses, organizations and municipalities.

“All of these improvements will not only reduce demand on the provincial grid, but also reduce energy use and operating costs,” Smith said.

Smith says they expect “solid growth” in energy efficiency from businesses, farms and homeowners — even if they’re less concerned about reducing emissions — as energy needs increase.

“One thing I will say is businesses and homeowners in the province want to save money,” Smith said.

The IESO is planning new conservation initiatives and is looking at buying new power generation to fill the upcoming power supply gap, with the Pickering nuclear power plant shutting down and increasing demand.

But Smith said last week the province plans to extend Pickering beyond 2026 and renew it to operate for another 30 years because of “unprecedented growth” in areas such as electric vehicle manufacturing. expected.

“Energy efficiency is one of the most reliable and cost-effective approaches to ensuring reliability on the grid,” Leslie Callinger, IESO’s president and CEO, said in a release.

“By using energy wisely, we increase our chances of simultaneously supporting electrification efforts and decarbonization efforts.”

These changes are expected to particularly impact Southwestern Ontario, with regional peak demand storage of 225 MW, which will help alleviate regional electricity system bottlenecks and foster economic growth.

Enemies reach the target

Critics of the Progressive Conservative government say the province would not be in a supply crunch now if it hadn’t canceled 750 green energy contracts during Premier Doug Ford’s first term.

“This plan is not enough to address the climate crisis and the electricity shortages Ontario faces,” said Mike Schreiner, leader of the Ontario Green Party.

Instead, Schreiner said his party is calling on the government to implement a “comprehensive” building retrofit plan that would see 40 percent of existing homes and workplaces net-zero by 2030 and 100 percent by 2040.

“People will save money by saving energy, and this government will take its first meaningful step to address the climate emergency.”

Ontario Expands Energy-Efficiency Programs

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