July 16, 2013 - The Ontario government says it is moving toward a new, innovative approach to energy planning by developing a new policy that will ensure the province invests in conservation measures before building new generation, whenever it is cost-effective to do so.
By Alyssa Dalton
To help design its energy path moving forward, the province has released Conservation First: A Renewed Vision for Energy Conservation in Ontario, which will help guide discussion as the province seeks input from Aboriginal partners, members of the public, local utilities, municipalities, environmental groups, business associations and other stakeholders to develop a new Conservation and Demand Management framework. Feedback from these discussions will also inform the review of the province’s Long Term Energy Plan.
Between 1990 and 2013, average household electricity consumption has declined by almost 25%, resulting in the average household saving up to $350 based on current electricity costs, said the government.
“Ontario has saved billions of dollars through conservation, and we have a clear opportunity to do more. By investing in conservation before new generation, where cost-effective, we can save ratepayers money and give consumers new technology to track and control energy use,” said Bob Chiarelli, minister of energy.
According to the government, Ontario has made “great strides in conservation with programs that help reduce electricity demand and increase efficiency”. Investments in conservation programs, such as the saveONenergy and Peaksaver Plus programs, over the last eight years have allowed Ontario to avoid building new generation that would have cost more than $4 billion.
“We applaud Ontario for putting energy conservation first. Doing so can save people money, help fight climate change and create good, local jobs. Taking cost-effective steps to save energy before spending on new energy supply can make Ontario a conservation leader in Canada,” said Gillian McEachern, campaigns director, Environmental Defence.