Tag Archives: Electricity Restructuring Act
Mary Teresa Bitti, Financial Post
For John Crane, the path to energy conservation started in 1979, when he took an energy course at New York University.
“From then on, I was interested in energy management,” says the engineer and operations manager at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto. In fact, during the course of his career, he took it upon himself to determine the health of the buildings he was overseeing by poring over hydro bills, trending and analyzing. He hasn’t stopped.
What’s more, he brought that meticulous focus to Yorkdale when he joined the shopping centre in 2001 after having completed a building audit of the two-million-square-foot commercial retail space and its 200 stores. Since then he has retrofitted the building with a focus on energy efficiency. His goal: to use less.
“We looked at all redundant equipment including ventilation and air conditioning systems that were energy inefficient and we replaced it with new equipment,” Mr. Crane says. “We went crazy on the lighting retrofits – this leads to the biggest savings.”
In fact, Yorkdale spent $300,000 on the lighting retrofit in 2007, which led to saving 850,000 kilowatt hours per year.
“We used Toronto Hydro’s Business Incentive Program to make the business case for that change. Now we have new energy efficient lighting throughout the shopping centre.”
What’s more, under his direction Yorkdale has installed a brand new building automation system allowing the building to shift and even shed its electricity load usage during peak times. Load shifting is just that: the practice of shifting energy use away from peak demand times (weekday afternoons) to less energy intensive times, when electricity is cheaper.
It represents a win for electricity consumers in the form of cost savings and for the province, which can better manage peak demand and reduce the need to import electricity or build new generation facilities.
“If you control your energy use, three things will happen,” Mr. Crane says. “You will create a wonderful environment for everyone – tenants, staff, customers – who comes to the building. You are going to help the hydro grid by reducing energy consumption. And you will save money. This is what will happen if you have a good energy and environmental program.”
And that is, in fact, exactly what happened. In 2001, Yorkdale consumed 14 million kilowatt hours of energy a year. At the end of 2008, that dropped down to nine million kilowatt hours a year: a 40% reduction in energy consumption. And through Toronto Hydro’s Conservation and Demand management program, Yorkdale uses its back-up generators when called upon by the utility during peak demand periods, taking the mall off the grid and thereby alleviating demand in Toronto by 1,300 kW. In return, the shopping centre receives an annual incentive payment.
Mr. Crane’s efforts are exactly what Bill 100, the Electricity Restructuring Act introduced in 2004, and Bill 150, the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009, hope to encourage. Bill 100 calls on all electricity users to make a behavioural shift – one geared to conservation. The Green Energy and Green Economy Act (Bill 150) puts energy conservation, demand management and environmental responsibility front and centre.
“The legislation is really about awareness and being sensitive to what the environment is facing,” says Kah Fae Chan, director of demand management, Toronto Hydro-Electric System.
“The legislation itself has three components: renewable energy, conservation and putting some intelligence into the distribution system in order for the various components in the system to communicate with each other, making the overall system more efficient in order to meet demand and energy reduction targets determined by the government.”
The goal is to reduce Ontario’s peak demand by 20% or 6,300 megawatts by 2025. This is the equivalent of taking the city of Toronto off the power grid during peak load in a hot summer.
To that end, Toronto Hydro-Electric System and the Ontario Power Authority introduced the Business Incentive Program in 2007 to encourage commercial and industrial customers, which account for 70% of Ontario’s electricity use, to conserve.
“Essentially, we are trying to reduce the load during peak time,” Mr. Chan says. “The program is geared to three segments: industrial customers, commercial customers with buildings up to 25,000 sq. ft. and multi-residential buildings.”
The incentives range from $150/kW to $350/kW. The proposed project should result in a minimum of three kW of peak load reduction or have a minimum total incentive value of $450. As well, the project has to be permanent, reduce peak demand and involve certain savings. A good example is changing out inefficient lighting to more efficient lighting.
“Once that is done, we can be certain that the electricity demand will be reduced, as long as the lights are on,” Mr. Chan says.
“Replacing an old and inefficient rooftop air-conditioner unit with a high-efficiency unit is another good example, since on a hot day the air-conditioner would be running and demand reduction is certain due to the efficiency improvement.
“Ultimately there has to be significant effort from customers. In turn, that effort results in cost savings and a renewed commitment to the environment.”
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