Since the electrical blackout that affected most of the North-Eastern United States and Eastern Canada occurred at 4:15pm on Aug. 14, 2003, Ontario residents have heard about the need to renew electrical infrastructure.
Headlines speak to phasing out coal-fired generation, construction of new nuclear facilities and how conservation will play a material role in our electricity future.
In addition, public awareness of the consequences of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions have reached an all-time high and evidence of the “green revolution” appears in every corner of our lives, from the grocery stores to the vehicles that we drive.
More recently, the third component has fallen; a severe economic downturn that threatens economic health. Business owners and individuals alike are struggling to do with less in an effort to ride this one out.
While uncertainty and hard times are difficult to bear, that combination has created significant opportunities for businesses to reduce their dependence on energy, contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and make businesses more competitive in the marketplace.
Just one compact fluorescent bulb will save $77 of electricity over its lifetime. (See http://www.hydroonenetworks.com/en/.) If the electricity avoided was coal-generated, then greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by one-half tonne and one-third of a tonne of coal could remain buried in the ground.
The Ontario Power Authority, the provincial agency that conducts planning for long-term electricity supply, has developed incentive programs to help businesses implement energy efficiency. Between now and 2025 the Ontario Power Authority expects to spend approximately $10-billion to achieve its goal of permanently reducing electrical energy use in Ontario.
Why is that a good investment? Simply put, the cost of implementing efficiency is far less than the cost of building, maintaining and fuelling the incremental electricity generation capacity needed to meet Ontario’s power needs if there were no permanent conservation achievements.
The good News is the programs are available now:
The Electricity Retrofit Incentive Program (ERIP) is available to all non-residential electricity customers. It pays an incentive to implement electricity conservation measures in commercial, industrial, institutional and apartment buildings.
Program participants have reported the incentives amount to between 10 and 30% of the costs to implement the efficiency measures, and the simple paybacks usually range between one and two years.
A wide range of energy conservation measures are eligible, including energy efficient: lighting, motors and electrical transformers, agricultural products air conditioning equipment, heat pumps, control systems and process improvements.
Power Savings Blitz is available to all non-residential) customers who use less than 50 kilowatts of electricity demand monthly. Eligibility can be confirmed with the local distribution company. Generally, qualifying customers operate a small business such as a store front, employ fewer than 10 people, and have an electricity meter. Some business types such as restaurants and food service industries do not currently qualify, but the Ontario Power Authority is developing programs for that market.
Qualifying businesses are eligible to receive up to $1,000 of energy efficient lighting and electric hot water heater insulation blankets, professionally installed, all at no cost. Many participants report that annual electricity costs are reduced by $300 to $500 as a result of participation.
The Ontario Power Authority funds the programs, but the local distribution companies provide administration. Help can be found by contacting your LCD:
– www.guelphhydro.com (Guelph Hydro)
– www.cwhydro.ca, (Centre Wellington Hydro)
– www.wellingtonnorthpower.com, (Wellington North Power); and
– www.hydroonenetworks.com/en/ (Hydro One Networks).
Submitted by Rick Tomson, President, Aladaco Consulting