A new report tabled by the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Gord Miller before the Ontario Legislature calls Ontario’s approach to energy conservation “uncoordinated and improvised.”
The report, Annual Energy Conservation Progress Report – 2009, Volume One, says Ontario is too focused on electricity. “We need a strategy that addresses conservation of all sources of energy,” argues Miller. “We already consume much more energy for transportation than we do for electricity, and most future growth in Ontario’s energy consumption is expected to come from the transportation sector.”
Miller says the only source of energy for which Ontario had begun doing some long-term planning, electricity, is now just as uncertain. The development of the Integrated Power System Plan has been suspended, and the role that it will play in guiding electricity conservation action is not known. In the absence of an approved Plan, the Ontario Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MEI) has set electricity conservation policy on an ad hoc basis.
The report examines the policy framework governing conservation for electricity, natural gas, oil, propane and transportation fuels, makes seven specific recommendations, and lays out a four-point agenda for the province.
One of the report’s key recommendations is that the Province examine the role of benchmarking and energy targets. As a first step to establishing targets to reduce provincial electricity consumption, the report recommends that the MEI establish reportable benchmarking by sector. This would help the Province decide whether to establish targets to reduce the use of natural gas, oil, propane and transportation fuels, and would make the targets meaningful.