Stratford Beacon Herald
Thursday, March 29, 2012
A plea to politicians in our provincial government:
It is possible that by 2013 Ontario taxpayers will be among those paying the highest rates for hydro in North America. Industry is being hurt. I read in the Toronto Sun on March 9 that one company’s hydro bills have increased by $1 million yearly!
Our bills will continue to climb. Can the rise be stopped or at least slowed down? Yes. Here, if incorporated properly, are some ways:
1. Geothermal — Earth energy can save 40-70% off existing heating and cooling bills. Our government should change or expand policies to ensure this is utilized more, especially for new homes.
2. Energy-efficient homes (www.passivehouse.ca) — These houses are so efficient they don’t require conventional heating and cooling systems. Such innovative features have led to the building of structures that use 80-90% less energy than conventional new homes. Yet, this country is being slow to approve building these homes, even though the contractor, Reiner Hoyer, has offered to pay the full cost for a special inspection to make it legal in Canada. About 25,000 successful passive homes exist in Europe, and Hoyer’s design has been recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council. If we are serious about conserving energy, this appears to be a great way to do it.
3. Co-generation, a.k.a. combined heat and power (C.H.P.) — This can be used in hospitals, schools, shopping centres etc. and the usually wasted heat can be used for a single building or a series of buildings linked by underground insulated steam pipes. It has more than double the efficiency of natural gas-fired power plants and nuclear reactors. Of extreme importance, C.H.P. projects lessen line loss of electricity. The electricity is consumed where it’s generated thus reducing the need for high-voltage transmission lines.
Reduced need for new transmission lines may save Ontario billions of dollars. A study in the U.S. in 2009 by H. Kinsey and Co., Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy, examined 675 energy-saving measures, and co-gen was one of the largest opportunities identified.
There are many more energy-efficient systems.
4. Trigeneration a.k.a. C.C.H.P. (combined cooling heat and power) is the simultaneous generation of electricity, useful heating and useful cooling from the same original heat source. Its further benefit is that conventional power plants may be connected to the system.
5. Biomass energy (green gas) is currently the fourth largest energy source in the world. Should we be using this source more?
6. Waste and Trash — A utility that harnesses heat from Vancouver’s sewage system has become so economical that it services about 1,600 homes and businesses.
7. Using our winter and cold — for refrigeration and air conditioners. (Rapid Refrigeration, Brian McDonald, Toronto)
8. Low-Energy Lighting — L.E.D. bulbs. These bulbs save 50-80% because they’re so long-lasting and have low maintenance. At present, they are too costly for many, but their demand is growing 65% yearly and prices will lessen. Samsung predicts a sales target of $15.2 billion for 2020 and 17,000 jobs (The Economist, Oct. 2011).
It can be seen that the ideology that wind and solar should be the chief ways to produce electricity to make Ontario green is erroneous and costly. Twenty-year contracts intensify the problem for at least the next decades.
All taxpayers are affected by these rates and rising rates, especially the poor and the working poor. To counteract that, to lessen the amount of electricity we’ll need, please, all members of Parliament, to examine and consider more use of at least some of the alternative methods listed.
We deserve politicians whom we can trust to do what is best for us: We want to trust you. Show us we can; don’t let it be “business as usual.”