Ontario's electricity sector has begun a broad-based industry dialogue to develop a vision for a provincial smart grid that will provide consumers with more efficient, responsive and cost-effective electricity service. The Ontario Smart Grid Forum launched March 31st by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in collaboration with representatives from local distribution companies will bring together leaders from across the sector.
"The transformation taking place within the province's electricity sector, combined with advances in information technology, creates a unique opportunity for the development of a smart grid," said Paul Murphy, President and CEO of the IESO. "This forum builds on the provincial Smart Metering Initiative to install smart meters in all homes and businesses by 2010 and complements the renewal taking place in Ontario's transmission and generation sectors."
Smart grid refers to a two-way system that monitors and automatically optimizes the operation of the interconnected elements of the power system — from the generator through the high-voltage network and distribution system, to the end-use consumer and their thermostats, appliances and other household devices.
The goal of a smart grid is to use advanced information-based technologies to increase grid efficiency, reliability and flexibility. It enables the better use of the existing delivery infrastructure and offers benefits for both the consumer and the environment.
An initial working group, made up of senior representatives from the IESO, Hydro One, Hydro Ottawa, Burlington Hydro and Toronto Hydro, will help define the membership and terms of reference for the broader Smart Grid Forum. New members will be added over the coming weeks to ensure a broad cross-sector representation.
"Hydro One recognized the potential benefits of smart grid advancements during the conceptual stage of its smart meter initiative," said Laura Formusa, President and CEO of Hydro One. "Leveraging the two-way communications provided by advanced metering allows us to monitor performance of our electricity system and will also provide our customers with new opportunities to actively participate in a variety of conservation and demand management initiatives — a key requirement in our design decision."
"By leveraging smart grid capabilities, we'll be creating an electricity system that is not only more efficient in the way it delivers electricity, but is also more flexible, accommodating more demand response and other environmentally-sustainable sources of supply," said David Collie, President and CEO of Burlington Hydro and Past Chair of the Electricity Distributors Association.
The full Forum will hold its first meeting in May, with a final report expected by the end of 2008, identifying benefits that will arise from smart grid investments and what needs to be done to enable implementation.
For more information visit ieso.ca.