Friday, 27 July 2012

Day 19, Why not Cogeneration? Poor Policy, Energy Minister Bentley?

Ever heard of cogeneration or combined heat and power (CHP)?  If you're reading from Europe, there's a good chance you've enjoyed its benefits.

North America typically uses natural gas for heating or electricity. CHP lets you do both simultaneously - use natural gas to generate electricity, and the waste heat can also be used for heating. It’s way more efficient, saves money, and decreases emissions. 

CHP can be used independently for a large factory or building, or it can be built to feed back into the grid. Many homes in Europe are heated from nearby industrial plants' waste fuel.

Why don't we use it?
Meh, probably because it's just not that common here.
It's not the first thing that comes to mind when building a place.

The International Energy Agency thinks CHP could provide 35% of electricity in G8+5 countries by 2040. Not bad. 

How does it relate to today's letter?
It's a bit of a stretch, but here goes (sorry, 'tis a long one):

CHP is one of the many conservation measures Ontario should use.

Instead, Ontario’s new Industrial Electricity Incentive Program makes electricity cheaper for companies building new plants (>$250million) or expanding operations. When is this a good idea?? I feel like this encourages companies to create operations which aren’t sustainable.

As always, creating new jobs is cited as a reason. But there are smarter ways to create jobs. According to the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA),  

“The objective of creating jobs, making our industries more competitive, and spurring economic growth could be achieved much more intelligently – and at a much lower cost – by working with industries to improve their energy productivity (see, for example, Energy Efficiency Engine of Economic Growth in Eastern Canada)

I briefly checked out OCAA's website, while I haven’t had time to check most of their sources I’m confident of the general premise, so I’ll get behind them with a letter today.

OCAA recommends e-mailing Energy Minister Bentley and asking him "to create sustainable jobs and lower electricity bills by investing in energy efficiency. Please tell him that subsidizing the wasteful consumption of high-cost electricity is a fool’s game."

I'll be sending snail mail, but go ahead and e-mail him if you've got the time!  Feel free to steal the wording. 

To: Hon Minister Bentley,

I do not support the Industrial Electricity Incentive Program. There are smarter ways to create jobs - it is likely that this program will encourage wasteful usage of electricity. Our laws should be doing the opposite.

Let's use things like incentives and policy encouraging cogeneration and other measures recommended by the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario.

Sent to:
Hon Christopher Bentley    
Ministry of Energy
4th Floor, Hearst Block
900 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2E1


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