Hydro One sale bad for fight vs climate change
Since the Ontario Liberal government announced that it would be selling Hydro One, much of the discussion has focused on whether the sale will lead to higher electricity prices. However, there’s been little talk inside or outside of Queen’s Park about what impacts the sale of our public transmission and distribution utility will have on energy conservation and climate change.
The need to conserve energy was at the heart of the 2013 review of Ontario’s Long Term Energy Strategy. Conservation First: A Renewed Vision for Energy Conservation in Ontario, prioritized the development of a smart grid, which would create more opportunities for connecting small-scale distributed and renewable energy generation projects to the power transmission grid.
When we think of our electrical system, we most likely visualize energy flowing one-way: from where it’s generated to where it’s used. In a smart grid, energy and information flow in multiple directions, creating flexibilities in grid management for both electrical generators and consumers. Indeed, the traditional notion of “consumer” will be turned on its head in a robust, distributive smart grid, where private homes and businesses also act as mini-power plants, producing their own renewable electricity through solar, wind or biomass, and selling it to the grid at a profit.
Smart meters that monitor the time of use of electricity are probably the most familiar component of the emerging smart grid. With real-time monitoring capabilities, home owners and businesses can better manage their electrical needs. Grid operators can also better manage the flow of electricity to match power generation to consumer use, especially during peak hours when power is at premium.