Posted February 6, 2009

Ontario to invest in smart electricity grid

Proposal would better accommodate renewable power

TORONTO - Ontario is planning to modernize its electricity transmission system to make it more reliable and more able to accommodate renewable power, Premier Dalton McGuinty said February 5, 2009.

A new Green Energy Act, to be introduced in the Ontario legislature later this month, would make Ontario a leader in North America in building renewable energy, encouraging energy conservation and creating green jobs.

By enabling smart grid investments the bill would better equip the electricity grid to handle the many smaller, renewable sources of energy the bill would help bring online. A smart grid would also allow electricity utilities to quickly identify problems and bring the lights back on when there are outages. A smart grid would help send and collect information, enabling greater demand response programs and help reduce consumption during peak hours.

The bill would also help the government ensure our province's future by:

- Supporting and expanding economic investment, thus building a stronger, greener economy with an estimated 50,000+ direct and indirect jobs over the next three years;
- Expanding Ontario's use of clean and renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, hydro, biomass and biogas; and
- Better protecting our environment, combating climate change and creating a healthier future for generations to come.

Premier McGuinty made the comments while addressing the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce.

"We need a 21st century electricity grid that can better meet the changing nature of power consumption in Ontario. A smarter grid is essential to maximizing the energy from Ontario's abundant natural solar and wind energy," said Premier Dalton McGuinty.

"Our current electricity transmission system was meant to deliver large amounts of electricity from a few big generating stations. I'll be introducing legislation soon that would jumpstart hundreds of smaller renewable projects across the province, changing the way we make and deliver electricity," said George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure.

- Smart grids enable a more efficient use of electricity and promote overall reductions in energy use. According to the Electric Power Research Institute, smart grid technologies have the potential to reduce electricity consumption in 2025 by 10 to 15 per cent in the United States.

- Smart grids better facilitate the integration of distributed generation and new energy resources such as solar, wind and pumped storage.

- Using smart grid technology, distributors have the ability to anticipate and address problems before they lead to outages. They can automatically reconfigure the grid to reduce the impact of faults that do occur. With a smart grid, your local distribution company will instantly know if the power is out in your home, even if you are not there to report it.

- On February 4, the Ontario Smart Grid Forum issued a report about the economic opportunities and environmental sustainability provided through smart grid technologies. A smart grid will help support Ontario's renewable energy and help make the electricity system more reliable.

© Copyright 2009/Exchange Morning Post/Exchange Business Communications Inc.
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