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The Good, Bad, and Ugly Truth about Ontario's Energy Sector
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The Good, Bad, and Ugly Truth about Ontario's Energy Sector

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The largest items in Ontario's provincial budget are health care, education, debt, and energy, and that means these four are incredibly political. This presentation reveals the inner workings of …

The largest items in Ontario's provincial budget are health care, education, debt, and energy, and that means these four are incredibly political. This presentation reveals the inner workings of Ontario's energy market and dispels some of the myths currently floating in Ontario's media and political circles


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  • Ontario is a problematic province, with a diversity of strengths and weaknesses, a huge provincial budget, a multimodal economy, and a voracious appetite for energy. The provincial energy system is one of the largest items on the Provincial budget, and is a growing concern. Ontario's Green Energy Act has begun the process of decentralizing Ontario's energy system, opening up opportunities for local communities and local individuals to generate energy for themselves.   What Ontario's government and ENGO sector did not expect was the degree of opposition and localized social friction that locally owned renewable energy projects would face. That opposition has had mixed competence, but has become increasingly well organized, and has been very damaging to Ontario's nacent green energy economy.   Comparable and contrasting experiences will be assessed from other parts of Canada as well, from Alberta's wind farms to Nova Scotia and PEI. This paper will focus on transformation of Canada's energy markets, and on what Ontario's experience with the Green Energy Act can teach us all about social and market forces that are actively and passively opposing the transition to ICES'. Comments/recommendations will be made on effective vs. ineffective policy change, strategies and methods for increasing market acceptance and engagement, and risks that need to be managed (and how).
  • First things first: conservation is 7-10 times less expensive than ANY new generation.
  • Wayne Gretzky quote: he goes to where the puck is going
  • Bottom line: There are some legitimate drawbacks to wind energy, but they’re extremely minor compared to the alternatives, or even compared to the risks we take when we get into the car and drive to work every morning. Note: wind is not unreliable – it’s intermittent. Important difference. Turbines are the most reliable generators around – far more so than nuclear. “ unfounded and unprovable silliness”: Ask for recent reports based on recent data – note that the industry has advanced significantly over the last few decades, and every year counts. All of reports against wind that actually have valid concerns are very obsolete. 20 yrs. of reports in Europe, Canada (yes local), and around the globe that deal with all the concerns raised thus far. “ There is nothing new under the sun”, especially with wind energy antagonists. Bird kill stats from CanWEA (per 10,000 avian fatalities): <1 from wind turbines 50 from communication towers 710 from pesticides 850 from vehicles 1060 from cats 1370 from high tension lines 5820 from collisions with buildings / windows
  • POOL eg: coastal farm community in Germany whose gross revenue increased >40x after turbines arrived. They call the off-shore turbines beautiful. NIMBY eg: certain rural farmers in Ontario that got bad land deals from large out-of-province developers.
  • Encourage skepticism, not cynicism
  • Image from http://www.caribbeanelections.com/education/images/library_books_5516.jpg Prefer personal power instead of community owned (eg: coop)? Contact Mindscape. Keep brief: <1 min. Mindscape Innovations, the 2008 Gowlings "New Business of the Year", which provides core enabling services to both the green building sector and the renewable energy sector: from feasibility studies to renewable energy system solutions to processing grants and incentives to certifying ENERGY STAR or LEED buildings.
  • Transcript

    • 1. © Mindscape Innovations Group Inc.The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Truth AboutOntario’s Energy SectorCambridge, 2012-12-14Derek Satnik, P.Eng., LEED®APMindscape Innovations Group Inc.www.mi-group.ca
    • 2. Photo from http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/04/img/solar_church_onpage.jpg© Mindscape Innovations Group Inc.Agenda• Context (ie: today’s reality)• What’s working vs. what’s not• Opportunities going forward
    • 3. Context• Old generators,many due forrebuilds• Surplusbaseloadgeneration atnight• Annual peaks~27,000 MW• Diverse supply:some flexible,some not• Diverse hazards& strategies© Mindscape Innovations Group Inc.
    • 4. © Mindscape Innovations Group Inc.Context• Insurance?• Emissions & waste?• Env’t protection?• Construction?• Taxation?Users:•Residential•Time of Use•Spot Market•Peak & net•Incentives
    • 5. The Challenge• Aging and now obsolete system• Load forecasts are a best guess(who’s guess is best?)• Anything new costs money• People disagree on the costs• Big budgets beget thick politics… and more politics…… and more politics…© Mindscape Innovations Group Inc.
    • 6. © Mindscape InnovationsConservation Roadmap & ROI ChartFrom book Smart Power: An Urban Guide to Renewable Energy and Efficiency, © William H. Kemp
    • 7. The Opportunity• Think about what “hydro” means to immigrants• We were 100% renewable energy powered before• The world is transitioning away from nuclear• Variable base generation (eg: wind & solar) +dispatchable (hydro & biogas) = flexible supply• No costly surpluses at night• No emissions, fuel costs, or waste• Simple maintenance• Local energy, local ownership, strongercommunities• Key point: we’re rebuilding either way.Let’s spend wisely and maximize benefits© Mindscape Innovations Group Inc.
    • 8. Myths & Misunderstandings About Wind Energy( www.mi-group.ca/faq )Myths• Infrasound• Bird / bat kill- more likely to die froma cat, car, or building• Ground vibrations…A long list ofunfounded andunprovable sillinessMisunderstandings• Land use- farm up to tower base• Audible noise- quieter than the wind• Intermittent (“blows whenit wants to”)- geographic diversity- supply mix planning- pair with PV / hydro / biogasPicture from www.canhydro.comSlide © Mindscape Innovations Group Inc.
    • 9. Picture from www.canhydro.comSlide © Mindscape Innovations Group Inc.The Truth about “Aesthetics” &Wind Turbines…• NIMBY (“not in my backyard”)– General reaction from everybody that has to watchyou make money off their wind• POOL (“please on our land”)– General reaction from everybody that gets invitedto co-invest and own part of the wind project• “Your own pigs don’t stink…”• Share the equity (even just 1%!)
    • 10. Photo by K. Stevens, 2009 - Toronto © Mindscape Innovations Group Inc.Key Points• Energy is politics: be wary of what you hear• Conservation before generation• Green power is popular & feasible• Social friction is everybody’s responsibility• Social friction is emotional: fear, uncertainty & doubt• Technical problems can always be solved: beskeptical, but not cynical (ask real questions, andexpect and accept real answers)• “The truth shall set you free”• www.mi-group.ca/faq
    • 11. © Mindscape Innovations Group Inc.Mindscape Innovations Group• In this new library of ideas, we’re the librarians.• Turn-key full lifecycle solutions forenvironmentally and technologically enhancedhomes, businesses, and communities.• 14 awards since ‘07, municipal through international• Core enabling services to both the green building sectorand the renewable energy sector: policy and incentiveprogram development, Community Energy Plans /Sustainability Plans, feasibility studies, renewable energysystem solutions, processing grants and incentives,permits and approvals, managing public stakeholderingand social friction, and much more...
    • 12. © Mindscape Innovations Group Inc.info@mi-group.ca877-394-6589www.mi-group.cawww.mi-group.ca/faqThank you!