11/25/2010

The Ontario government's 20-year energy plan, Building Our Clean Energy Future, released by Minister of Energy Brad Duguid, contains some opportunities and challenges for municipalities.
Building on 2007's Integrated Power Supply Plan (IPSP), Building Our Clean Energy Future provides for coal closures by 2014, grid expansions, enhanced conservation and renewable energy targets, and support for conservation and efficiency initiatives. The following items will be of specific interest to Ontario municipalities:

The Province will direct Hydro One to move forward immediately with five priority transmission projects including new ones to Pickle Lake, and two extending west from London.

The Province has made a commitment to convert the Thunder Bay Generating Station from coal to natural gas to take the province another step closer to eliminating all coal-fired generation by the end of 2014 and to continue to provide needed generation in line with the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario and future needs of the Ring of Fire.

Conservation targets have been increased from 6,300 MW to 7,100 MW. A number of Conservation and Demand Management (CDM) Programs are being developed by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and your Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) that should be of benefit to municipalities.

The Ontario Clean Energy Benefit will provide a 10% reduction on bills for small municipal accounts (under 250,000 kWh annually) for the next five years.

The OPA is directed to procure 1,000 MW of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and develop a standard offer program for projects under 20 MW. This presents opportunities both for municipal district energy project development and large industrial users to turn waste heat into a valued resource.

The proposed regulation to require the broader public sector (municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals) energy conservation plans is expected in spring 2011.

Not surprisingly, all of this investment comes with a hefty price tag - $87 billion over the next 20 years, which will translate into a price increase of approximately 3.5% on municipal electricity bills. Along with the regulatory requirement expected in the spring, these price increases should act as a major incentive for municipalities to develop and implement energy plans. AMO and its subsidiary LAS have a number of programs and services to help as do your LDC and gas utility.

Most of long term energy plan is contained in a supply mix directive that is now on the EBR Registry 011-1701 and was available for comment until January 7, 2011.