Conflicting Directions for the Future of Energy

Energy distribution and generation systems must meet a variety of needs from electricity operators, stakeholders, and end consumers. As technology advances and energy needs grow, issues in scaling and sourcing become more apparent.

Early in November, Statistics Canada reported on the trends of energy generation and consumption in Canada and its provinces. Since early 2021, changes in electricity generation have not kept up with consumption changes as seen in the table below. The last column in the table above calculates the difference between electricity generation change and electricity consumption change, with negative values highlighted in red. This illustrates the alarming trend that existing electric infrastructure is not keeping up with increasing demand:


Electricity generation and consumption, year-over-year change, % change

Month, Year

Electricity generation % change

Electricity consumption % change

Generation - Consumption

August 2020

1.9

-0.5

2.4

September 2020

-2.1

-1.5

-0.6

October 2020

2.3

-1.1

3.4

November 2020

-5.1

-4.2

-0.9

December 2020

-1.3

-2.1

0.8

January 2021

-1.5

-2.6

1.1

February 2021

-2.0

-1.3

-0.7

March 2021

-1.8

-1.3

-0.5

April 2021

-0.5

0.5

-1

May 2021

2.7

5.4

-2.7

June 2021

3.5

3.6

-0.1

July 2021

-5.4

-3.1

-2.3

August 2021

-1.5

3.8

-5.3

In Ontario

For Ontario in particular the Ministry of Energy has addressed a letter to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) outlining expectations to meet the province's energy needs. In the letter several topics are discussed including:

  • The shortfall in generation is attributed to the closure of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station

  • The province is looking to acquire more existing and new electricity resources through:

  • Capacity auction

  • Medium-term Request for Proposals (MT RFP)

  • Long-term Request for Proposals (LT RFP)

  • "Bilateral contracts with resources that are essential to meeting reliability needs and resources that are important to other government policies"

  • Reporting on initiatives

  • The decarbonization of the electricity system

Of note is the last point listed. As seen in the graph below, combustible fuels make up Ontario's second largest source of electricity generation. While combustible fuels are far from the largest contributor, the IESO itself has explored stakeholder discussions to phase out gas generation by 2030 and predicted that it would raise costs and cause blackouts, making it an unlikely deadline.

Ontario monthly power generation by type of electricity generation. From NRCan, see sources and further reading
Ontario monthly power generation by type of electricity generation. From NRCan, see sources and further reading

Future-proofing

Regardless of Ontario's timeline to completely phases out gas generation by 2030 or not, energy costs will rise and utility flexibility will likely decrease. Much of the IESO's current initiatives focus on demand side management such as the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) and the Capacity Auction which focus on disincentivizing consumer contribution to peak demand and sourcing capacity to meet short and medium needs respectively. However neither of these programs address the core issue that extensive work is required to bring electric generation and infrastructure in line with growing power demand and stakeholder demands and much of those costs will likely be passed onto end consumers.


Microgeneration is one answer to this issue as it reduces the demand on the central system and allows for customizable and expandable output to meet unique building/facility needs.


Industrial and commercial buildings looking to expand operations or reduce the impact of ICI Class-B global adjustment costs can reduce baseline energy consumption and dependence on local utilities while increasing reliability.


Multi-unit residential buildings also face the growing adoption rate of electric vehicles (EV) and demand for EV chargers from tenants. Microgeneration, energy management systems, and battery storage can help manage electric capacity to allow more EV chargers and increase system reliability.


How We Can Help

Mann Energy Solutions (MES) is a professional consulting engineering company that specializes in electrical and energy solutions, including engineering and implementation. Our experienced electrical engineers can help identify energy saving opportunities in your building and design the best system for you. Our firm has hundreds of installed electrical and power projects and we have been in business since 1983.


Some of our services include:

  • Free site walk-through by our experienced engineers and technicians to provide an initial site assessment

  • Engineering feasibility studies

  • Incentive study and application

  • Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) for a turnkey project

For more information or a complimentary assessment contact us through the main site, info@mannenergysolutions.com, or call (416) 201 9109 x 158.


Sources and Further Reading

13 views0 comments