The OPA review process

The following question was submitted to the Ontario Power Authority “OPA Management Team Stakeholder Consultation” on line web session on Friday, February 16.

The question deals with what I believe is a totally relevant matter for the Management Team to comment on, but when it was first posed it was ignored. When the announcer for the session stated that there were no more questions I resubmitted the question. This time she read through half the question but was interrupted by a member of the management team (I believe that it was Amir Shalaby) who said that such questions should be raised privately and directly to the management team rather than in an open forum. The session was terminated a couple of minutes later, although there was still about 45 minutes left to go in the planned schedule.

As it happens I had previously raised the same questions in direct emails, including the concern that the process was not being conducted openly and transparently as had been promised. They did not reply, but they should have been prepared to respond to my question for the web session, and they had ample time to do so.

Ron Tolmie

"The House of Commons has just passed a Bill that will require Canada to spend billions of dollars on carbon credits unless we can achieve very large GHG reductions in the next five years. To make such reductions Ontario will need to reconsider its energy mix plans for all sectors.

We presently generate about one third of our electric power with fossil fuels, but to replace that energy source we cannot expand hydro production, and we can't substitute nuclear power because nuclear stations cannot handle the daily load swings, and we can't even use wind power unless we can generate six times as much power from some other clean source that can cope with the load variations.

We presently use fossil fuels for nearly all of our transportation needs. We would have to begin to substitute electrically powered trains and cars but that would mean that Ontario will need much more electric power than the OPA is planning for.

Industry presently accounts for about half of our GHG production, including substantial components produced by the energy sources that are used for electricity. They too will have to switch to different energy sources, including an increased reliance on electricity.

Our homes and buildings are mostly heated by fossil fuels. The most attractive solution is to switch to combined heat and power generators that will replace most of the fossil fuel use and at the same time create a distributed electricity generation system.

The logical solution to all of these problems is to employ seasonal storage of summer's heat and winter's cold, a technology that has an almost unlimited capacity and that could be implemented comparatively quickly and inexpensively. However the OPA has refused to openly consider such a solution even though its own offices, like many buildings in downtown Toronto, already use seasonally stored atmospheric cold for air conditioning.

Submissions showing how that could be done have been filed throughout the OPA review process. That solution needs to be put on the table for open and transparent review because otherwise Ontario has very little to offer to meet the GHG reduction objectives. The technology is reviewed in the February issue of (with a dash). Will the OPA reconsider the energy mix? "