TORONTO, May 3 /CNW/ - In a report released today, the Ontario Smart
Grid Forum has issued a series of recommendations to build on the
province's momentum in creating a smarter, more efficient electricity
system that delivers direct benefits to consumers and the broader
"Our province has a real head-start in getting the building blocks in
place for a smart grid - whether it's through the smart meters now
installed in every home, research and development by universities and
the private sector, or upgrades to the distribution networks by
utilities," said Paul Murphy, Forum Chair and President and CEO of the
Independent Electricity System Operator.
"The task moving forward is to ensure that our next steps are
co-ordinated, consistent and prudent - ensuring that all the pieces
within the smart grid work together effectively and generate the
maximum possible benefits for consumers and the province as a whole,"
Smart grid refers to the use of information and communications
technologies to better manage the production, storage, delivery and
consumption of electricity. It enables a two-way flow of information,
automates many aspects of grid operation and enables such things as
electric vehicles and demand response. Global spending on smart grids
is expected to reach $36 billion by 2013,1 reflecting the desire by utilities around the world to ensure their
distribution and transmission systems can keep up with the
ever-increasing demands being made of them.
"Smart grids expand the opportunities for new consumer products and
services," said Shelley Lewis, Chair of the Forum's Corporate Partners
Committee and CFO of Summitt Energy. "In many ways, the growth of the
smart grid will be determined by what consumers want - whether it's an
energy monitor they pick up from a hardware store, a demand response
program that pays them to reduce their energy use during peaks, or a
solar panel to sell energy back to the grid. Smart grids enable these
kinds of consumer options."
The report, "Modernizing Ontario's Electricity System: Next Steps,"
makes a series of recommendations that focus on removing barriers to
smart grid development and taking full advantage of its intended
benefits. These recommendations include:
The Ontario Ministry of Energy should conduct an annual survey to assess
consumer interest in smart home technologies and how they are
influencing consumer behaviour
An economic development task force should be established to capitalize
on the innovation, commercialization and job creation potential of
Ontario's smart grid investments
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation should track electric vehicle
registration and provide this information to utilities to help them
ensure that local networks can support the increased demand for
The IESO and the Ontario Power Authority, in partnership with others,
should develop a framework to promote the deployment of energy storage
within distribution networks where it is cost-effective
The Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner should track all
smart-grid related complaints regarding the use of personal electricity
The electricity industry should develop a test-bed environment for
companies to assess whether their products and services are compatible
with Ontario's distribution networks
Industry should move toward greater standardization to ensure that all
technologies can work together effectively, and keep Ontario in step
with broader international developments, drawing from the work
currently being done through the Canadian National Committee of the
International Electrotechnical Commission
Smart grid development incorporates public investments in infrastructure
to increase the efficiency of the grid and accommodate new supply
within distribution networks. These expenditures have been factored
into the Ontario government's Long-Term Energy Plan forecasts and will
be subject to review by the Ontario Energy Board. It is anticipated
that these public investments will spur additional investments in R&D
and product development by the private sector; consumer purchases of
in-home smart appliances, devices, and electric vehicles; the adoption
of commercial and industrial building automation systems; and other
emerging technologies. Together, these investments will work to build
the smart grid and stimulate further economic growth.
"Over the last number of years, our industry has developed an abundance
of innovative solutions and proven expertise in smart grid applications
and technologies. This is an extremely valuable commodity in the world
economy," said Jatin Nathwani, Ontario Research Chair in Public Policy
and Sustainable Energy Management at the University of Waterloo. "Our
hope is that Ontario can effectively leverage this advantage to create
high-value jobs and private sector investment in this province."
The Ontario Smart Grid Forum comprises members of Ontario's utility
sector, industry associations, public agencies, and universities. Its
work is supported by the Corporate Partners Committee, which represents
private sector organizations active in the smart grid space -
including, electric car makers, retailers, energy management companies,
systems integrators and equipment manufacturers.
A copy of the report is available on the IESO website at www.ieso.ca/smartgridreport. A backgrounder about the report recommendations can be found at www.ieso.ca/smartgridbkgdr.
Note to editors: The Ontario Smart Grid Forum report includes an
infographic of the Smart Home Roadmap, showing how the smart grid will
evolve in Ontario over the next 20 years - all from the consumer's
point of view. The roadmap can be viewed on the IESO website at www.ieso.ca/smarthomeroadmap.
1 Pike Research, Press Release: "Global Smart Grid Investment to Peak at
$35.8 Billion in 2013" June 29, 2009.
SOURCE Ontario Smart Grid Forum
For further information:
Independent Electricity System Operator