Community Energy Systems

Another Energy Conscious Community takes action

May 30, 2021

  Essex County approved their Regional Energy Plan on May 19, 2021. The region is a shining example of what happens when a community becomes “energy conscious”. They take action to reduce energy consumption, emissions, and costs. Essex County was highly motivated to embark on this journey. In 2019 and 2020, the region was under flood watches and warnings for...

Energy Transition: Role for Local Electricity Utilities

February 6, 2017

The energy transition in Ontario is picking up speed. Distributed power generation and storage growing The Electricity Distributors Association has just released a report – The Power to Connect: Advancing Customer-Drive Electricity Solutions for Ontario.  The report proposes a new way forward for Ontario’s electricity utilities as distributed energy resources including local, small-scale power generation and storage technologies continue to grow.  The...

Provincial policies support thermal energy

July 25, 2016

Thermal energy is a growing theme in provincial land use policies. I attended a workshop last week on two far-reaching provincial policy documents.  The two documents were Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) and  the review of the growth plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. That is to say, Ontario’s developing land use and climate policy framework was the focus of the day. Both documents acknowledge the...

A role for an energy efficiency utility

March 3, 2016

I have often pondered the intrinsic conflict of asking an electricity or gas utility to deliver a program that reduces their customers’ consumption of electricity or gas, respectively. It’s like asking a coffee shop to sell less coffee to save on coffee beans. Of course, the regulator allows the utility to recoup their lost revenue through increased rates and presumably...

District Energy the Clear Choice for Colwood and Capital City Centre

September 1, 2015

Terrific to see the integration of energy planning into city building in Colwood on Vancouver Island.  This is a community that has made the shift in thinking it takes to embrace district energy and understand its opportunity for future generations.

District energy systems growing in Canada

August 31, 2015

Many European communities, particularly after the oil crisis in the 1970s, began to improve energy efficiency, reduce reliance of imported fossil fuels and make better use of local and renewable fuel sources by encouraging local energy production with district energy. For example, Copenhagen today meets 97% of the city’s heating needs with district energy. A recent inventory of district energy systems in...

When electricity customers become a distributed energy resource

August 19, 2015

New technologies are turning electricity customers into a distributed energy resource and that is changing how we view the electricity grid. While some view the growth of distributed generation as a threat to electric utilities others see an opportunity. It is true that new technologies that promote conservation and efficiency and distributed generation are challenging the financial sustainability of electric distribution...

Opportunity for electric utilities

June 4, 2015

The electricity sector is recognizing opportunities to innovate in areas of demand response, the facilitation of distributed generation and electric cars, optimization of asset use, fault detection, mitigation and storage[1].  How can the provincial regulator support innovation and value creation in Ontario’s LDCs? LDCs should be encouraged to embrace the transition to a new energy future and extract value out...

Multi-service energy providers

June 3, 2015

The good news is that the transformation occurring in the energy sector is being driven by many benefits: increased system efficiency, lower system costs, reduced energy bills, increased clean vehicles, increased energy efficiency and competitiveness, reduced emissions, increased system resilience and reliability, and increased energy security. The question for municipal owners of electric utilities is whether their community is interested in...

The Future Electric Utility: Regulatory Change

June 2, 2015

The growing risk to a significant municipal asset – electric utilities – and the increasing localization of energy decision-making with draw more municipalities into provincial regulatory discussions. See earlier posts: The Future Electric Utility The Future Electric Utility: Local Implications Municipal owners of electric utilities have an interest in seeing proactive regulatory change that helps pave the way to a new energy...

The Future Electric Utility: Consolidation

June 1, 2015

Consolidation will be one of the topics discussed at this week’s conference on the future of Ontario’s electric utilities. After the regulatory reforms of the 1990s, some municipalities sold their LDCs as they were too small to operate efficiently under the new rules. Other LDCs sought efficiencies through mergers, maintaining the involvement of their respective municipalities in the electric utility, while others...