Energy Transition: Role for Local Electricity Utilities

February 6, 2017

QUEST Smart Energy Communities

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 paper notes that distributed energy resources will be important in building a cleaner, more resilient and less costly system.  And local utilities have a key role.

Ontario leaders

There are already leaders emerging in the sector.  Three local utilities have micro-grid projects that connect customers with clean energy and energy storage technologies for self-sufficient and energy-secure communities. They include: Oshawa PUC, Powerstream (a founding utility of Alectra Inc.) and Veridian Connections.

Hydro Ottawa, and its partners, are building Canada’s first-ever district utility. The district utility will power the net-zero carbon Zibi project.  The Zibi project has embraced an ambition One Planet Action Plan for sustainable living.

Road map for action

The report should serve as an important road map for decision-makers – government agencies, regulators and stakeholders – to accelerate the energy transition.  Many local governments are considering the future of their electricity utilities.  The report is timely because it should help them understand the emerging new role for local electricity utilities.  This should be part of their decision making.

The report is likely to achieve its primary goal – to get a conversation started.