November 27, 2006

Ontario on track to meet interim, long-term conservation targets, says chief officer

Between January and August 2006, Ontario electricity users reduced their per-capita consumption by 2.5% from the same period in 2005, even factoring weather conditions such as a marginally cooler summer into the calculations. Moreover, peak demand has declined by approximately 950 megawatts (MW) since 2004, including 328 MW of naturally-occurring conservation, says Ontario's chief energy conservation officer, Peter Love.

In Ontario: A New Era In Electricity Conservation, his first full-year annual report on the state of Ontario's conservation efforts on the state of Ontario's conservation efforts, Love says electricity consumers in the province are starting to get the message. "For decades, the people of Ontario had no particular reason to worry about conservation. But we have begun to realize that conserving electricity is cheaper in the short-term and more sustainable over time," he told an Empire Club audience of business, government, and environmental leaders at the official release of the report.

Based on the results to date, Love believes the province will achieve the challenging target of 6,300 MW of peak electricity savings by 2025. "From our experiences with the market thus far, I'd say we are on track to meet that goal." In fact, only another 400 MW in energy savings are needed in order for Ontario to reach its interim target of reducing peak demand by 1,350 MW by 2007.

Much of the Ontario Conservation Bureau's work in its first year has revolved around building the capacity in the electricity sector to create and deliver conservation programs. The Bureau's refrigerator retirement program this past summer was an outstanding success. Not only did the six-community pilot surpass its very aggressive target of removing over 5,000 inefficient units, it spawned a new industry. "For the first time, units were fully recycled instead of ending up in the landfill - by two new Ontario companies," Love pointed out.

Other highlights include the following.

*Ontario was awarded a B+ grade by the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance in its 2006 national report card. This is up from C- in 2004 and represents a significant improvement.

*In response to the August 1 heat alert this summer, a demand response program reduced peak electricity consumption by 182 MW, with an average of 133 MW over eight hours. This program is one of ten launched by the Conservation Bureau during 2006.

*Overall during 2005 and 2006, energy management companies have achieved an estimated 20 MW of peak demand reductions. Local electricity company conservation programs saved 121 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2005; this translates to 868 million kWh over the life of equipment

*Investment in electricity conservation activities by energy management firms, local distribution companies and other stakeholders is estimated at $300 million to $350 million per year.

*Enhanced energy efficiency requirements contained in amendments to Ontario's Building Code, announced this past June, will save an estimated 550 MW over the next eight years.

The report warns that some barriers to energy efficiency remain. It notes, for example, that there is no consistent method of measuring conservation program results among the many participants in the market. The Conservation Bureau is working closely with the Ministry of Energy, local electricity companies, environmental groups, and the private sector to share information, build programs, and measure results.

Plans for further programs and initiatives by both the Conservation Bureau and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) are outlined in the report as well. The OPA will continue to focus on reducing summer peak demand and will seek to build market capability concentrating on large industrial consumers, municipalities, the institutional sector and contractors serving the small-to-medium enterprise (SME) and residential sectors. In 2007 as well, says the report, the OPA will complete the development of program evaluation, measurement and verification mechanisms.

The Chief Energy Conservation Officer's 2006 Annual Report may be viewed on the Conservation Bureau Web site, www.conservationbureau.on.ca.

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