A Vision for Ontario's Smart Grid



    TORONTO, March 31 /CNW/ - Ontario's electricity sector has begun a
broad-based industry dialogue to develop a vision for a provincial smart grid
that will provide consumers with more efficient, responsive and cost-effective
electricity service. The Ontario Smart Grid Forum launched today by the
Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in collaboration with
representatives from local distribution companies will bring together leaders
from across the sector.
    "The transformation taking place within the province's electricity
sector, combined with advances in information technology, creates a unique
opportunity for the development of a smart grid," said Paul Murphy, President
and CEO of the Independent Electricity System Operator. "This forum builds on
the provincial Smart Metering Initiative to install smart meters in all homes
and businesses by 2010 and complements the renewal taking place in Ontario's
transmission and generation sectors."
    Smart grid refers to a two-way system that monitors and automatically
optimizes the operation of the interconnected elements of the power system -
from the generator through the high-voltage network and distribution system,
to the end-use consumer and their thermostats, appliances and other household
devices.
    The goal of a smart grid is to use advanced information-based
technologies to increase grid efficiency, reliability and flexibility. It
enables the better use of the existing delivery infrastructure and offers
benefits for both the consumer and the environment. These benefits include:

    
    -   Improved System Reliability
        -  Smart grids provide dynamic, real-time optimization of grid
           operations and resources. They have the capacity to detect,
           analyze and restore system faults before they escalate.
        -  Increased physical and cyber security, as well as special
           protection systems, will enhance the reliability of the grid.
        -  Greater coordination among all participants in the system will
           trigger better price signals and a more efficient balance between
           demand and supply.

    -   Increased Customer Participation
        -  Homeowners will have the tools and information to actively manage
           their electricity use, taking advantage of their smart meters,
           smart appliances and other control devices.

    -   Environmental Benefits
        -  Greater efficiencies will help alleviate the need for new
           generating, transmission and distribution facilities.
        -  Improved integration of smaller generators embedded in the
           distribution system will increase the role of renewable energy
           supplies in meeting provincial demand.
    

    An initial working group, made up of senior representatives from the
IESO, Hydro One, Hydro Ottawa, Burlington Hydro and Toronto Hydro, will help
define the membership and terms of reference for the broader Smart Grid Forum.
New members will be added over the coming weeks to ensure a broad cross-sector
representation.
    "Hydro One recognized the potential benefits of smart grid advancements
during the conceptual stage of its smart meter initiative," said Laura
Formusa, President and CEO of Hydro One. "Leveraging the two-way
communications provided by advanced metering allows us to monitor performance
of our electricity system and will also provide our customers with new
opportunities to actively participate in a variety of conservation and demand
management initiatives - a key requirement in our design decision."
    "Smart meters are just the first step - sending and receiving information
to and from the power grid," said David O'Brien, President and CEO of Toronto
Hydro Corporation. "Smart meter technologies open the door to smart homes -
where residential consumers can manage their electricity consumption more
effectively with in-home control systems, self-generation such as solar
panels, and smart appliances."
    "Ontario - and Ottawa in particular - relies on high-tech industries as a
major source of new jobs. These businesses demand high levels of reliability
and power quality, and smart grid technology will be a valuable tool for
achieving this," said Norm Fraser, Chief Operating Officer of Hydro Ottawa.
"We see the smart grid as an important business attraction tool, providing the
province with an additional competitive advantage in the years ahead."
    "By leveraging smart grid capabilities, we'll be creating an electricity
system that is not only more efficient in the way it delivers electricity, but
is also more flexible, accommodating more demand response and other
environmentally-sustainable sources of supply," said David Collie, President
and CEO of Burlington Hydro and Past Chair of the Electricity Distributors
Association.
    The full Forum will hold its first meeting in May, with a final report
expected by the end of 2008, identifying benefits that will arise from smart
grid investments and what needs to be done to enable implementation.




For further information:

For further information: Martine Holmsen, Communications Associate,
IESO, (416) 506-2837; David Collie, President and CEO, Burlington Hydro
Electric Inc., (905) 332-2264; R. Susan Barrett, Manager, Communications and
Public Affairs, Hydro Ottawa Limited, (613) 221-0063; Denise Attallah, Media
and Public Relations Specialist, Toronto Hydro, (416) 542-2636; Daniele
Gauvin, Hydro One, (416) 345-6908


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