Ontario has slipped from 3rd to 4th place in an annual ranking of provincial energy efficiency policies by a Carleton University-based organization called Efficiency Canada.
The “Scorecard” highlights that Ontario is a traditional leader in areas such as energy efficient building codes, appliance and equipment standards, building energy reporting, and conservation programs.
The 2020 Scorecard, however, registers steep reductions in electricity savings, program spending, and electric vehicle registrations. The province could slip behind others even more, because the 2021-2024 framework for electricity conservation programs reduces budgets by more than half of their previous levels.
There is potential for an increase in natural gas conservation efforts because the 2018 Environment Plan called for a significant increase in programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help energy consumers save money. However, the Ontario government has provided no direction to the Ontario Energy Board, which has since approved static budgets and targets for 2021.
The authors note that Ontario’s policy choices have a significant impact at a national scale.
“In 2018 Ontario was responsible for 48% of national electricity savings, 35% of natural gas savings, and 52% of program spending. If Ontario’s energy efficiency efforts dwindle or remain static, national efficiency and emission reduction goals could be out of reach,” said the report’s lead author, James Gaede (photo).
In addition to following through on the Environment Plan’s proposed ramp up of natural gas conservation programs, the Scorecard report also suggests Ontario bolster recent investment in electric vehicle manufacturing with policies to support domestic demand.
“Other provinces are now ahead of Ontario in electric vehicle charging and sales. A complete electric vehicle jobs and innovation strategy needs to have a demand side component, which could include joining with Québec and British Columbia to require a certain amount of manufacturer sales to be zero-emission vehicles,” said report co-author and Efficiency Canada Policy Director, Brendan Haley.
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