Rising Electricity Demand Calls for Least-Cost Energy Strategy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 4, 2024

A least-cost energy strategy can keep rising utility costs under control by boosting energy efficiency, speeding up heat pump installations, and using local renewable energy sources to reduce the need for new transmission lines, the Ottawa Climate Action Fund (OCAF) said today.

OCAF was responding to news last week that Hydro Ottawa is looking for “massive” capital investment to meet rising electricity demand.

“Hydro Ottawa is right to plan for a rapid increase in demand, and they’re opening an urgent public conversation about where the power will come from and how we’ll pay for it. An essential part of that conversation is how we get the energy services we need at a price that everyone can afford,” said OCAF Executive Director Steve Winkelman.

OCAF is urging Hydro Ottawa, the City of Ottawa, and other local decision-makers to work toward a new energy system that:

  • Maximizes energy efficiency in the way we heat, cool, and operate our homes and commercial buildings and saves Ontario $9.5 billion;
  • Replaces inefficient gas heating and cooling with electric heat pumps that reduce energy use by up to 65% (find a handy myth-buster on heat pumps here);
  • Relies on proven techniques like demand response and battery storage to keep peak power demand under control;
  • Uses rooftop solar, wind, neighbourhood microgrids, and other local renewable energy options to reduce the need for new power lines that are expensive to build and vulnerable in a weather emergency, while eliminating the need for new gas plants over the next decade.

“When you’re looking ahead to a big investment, it’s that much more important to stretch every dollar as far as you can. We know Hydro Ottawa is working hard to get this right, and we’re ready and willing to help,” Winkelman said.

Ottawa’s 2020 Energy Evolution strategy calls for significant, new capital investment to maximize energy efficiency and electrify the system. It shows savings from those investments beginning to outweigh costs by 2032, adding up to $2.7 billion by 2050.

 

CONTACT:

Mitchell Beer, OCAF Strategic Advisor
613-889-5960 | mbeer@ottclimatefund.ca

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