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Conservation Can Cut Ontario Electricity Use 31% by 2035

blickpixel / Pixabay
blickpixel / Pixabay

Ontario’s power system operator should pay at least 8¢ per kilowatt-hour for electricity savings that can defer or prevent spending on nuclear refits, and run a competitive procurement process for energy efficiency initiatives by cities, co-ops, First Nations, utilities, and others, according to a short paper released earlier this month by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance.

Conservation investments can cost-effectively reduce the province’s total electricity consumption by 31% by 2035,” OCAA states, citing a report prepared for the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). “If Ontario pursues all of these cost-effective energy efficiency investment opportunities, we will realize a $1.4-billion net reduction in our electricity bills.”

If IESO pursues its current energy efficiency strategy, it will cut electricity use 12% by 2035, compared to a scenario with no further conservation efforts. But that total increases to 31% if all cost-effective measures are pursued.

OCAA calculates the cost of energy efficiency measures at 1.5¢/kWh for large industrial settings and 3.5¢ for residential, commercial, and small industry initiatives, compared to an official price tag of 8¢ to rebuild the Darlington nuclear station. The latter figure rises to 15¢/kWh based on OCAA’s prediction that costs at Darlington will skyrocket by the time the project is complete.

In December 2013, the Government of Ontario adopted the Conservation First principle for energy planning, meaning Ontario’s goal is to procure all energy conservation and efficiency resources that can keep our lights on at a cost that is less than or equal to the cost of new supply,” OCAA notes. On that basis, the group is calling for an 8¢/kWh for its proposed IESO procurement.