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Ontario Communities and Businesses Investing in Innovative Energy Efficiency Projects

March 15, 2022  |  Article

With electricity consumption projected to rise, Ontario’s communities and businesses are developing innovative energy management solutions that help make the electricity system more efficient, affordable and sustainable. That’s why the IESO recently banded together with partners in the innovation space to explore new approaches to help consumers conserve and manage energy.

Demand for electricity is projected to grow on average about 1.7 per cent each year over the next decade, in part due to economic growth coming out of the pandemic, and electrification of transportation. While the IESO is working with stakeholders to ensure adequate electricity supply to meet the growing demand, energy efficiency and energy management is a key part of the solution to reliability as well as decarbonization goals.

Read more about the 20-year demand, supply and transmission outlook for Ontario’s electricity system.

Burlinton, Ontario - arial view

That’s why the IESO’s Grid Innovation Fund is supporting pilot projects that explore new ways to enhance sustainability and energy efficiency through the use of artificial intelligence, equipment upgrades and new processes.

Some of the new projects on tap include:

  • Upgrades to a wastewater treatment plant in the Region of Waterloo that will explore how an energy-efficient membrane technology can replace traditional equipment to provide significant energy savings.
  • Testing the use of hydrogen peroxide, reducing the need for energy-intensive aeration at Greenway Wastewater Testing Facility in London, Ontario, led by the University of Western Ontario.
  • A Toronto 2030 District project that entails working with the city’s real estate industry and community organizations to identify viable pathways to a GHG-emissions-free building sector. This includes creating a vision document to inform decision-making by real estate owners, energy management program marketing, and electricity sector planning for the decarbonization of the economy.
  • Updating Natural Resources Canada’s RETScreen Expert software – used by energy managers in residential, commercial and industrial buildings – to allow modelling of deep retrofits that can result in up to 80 per cent electricity cost savings. In addition, the software will provide demand response and load reduction analysis capabilities.
  • A Pollution Probe and QUEST Community Energy Planning project in Burlington that will help communities meet their energy goals by developing an implementation approach that integrates stakeholder and utility engagement, identifies best practices, and provides a draft work plan.
  • Demonstration of an industrial Energy Management Information System using artificial intelligence at an Ontario mining facility to better understand, and more efficiently manage, all facets of the mine’s electricity consumption and peak demand. The project will quantify energy savings resulting from the Energy Management System.

Coming soon, the IESO’s Grid Innovation Fund and Ontario Energy Board’s Innovation Sandbox will announce the funding recipients from its joint call for proposals last November. The call invited proposals for innovative projects that test the capabilities of distributed energy resources to provide services at both the provincial and local levels.