Market Snapshot: Ontario Ramps up Goals for Electricity Savings

Release date: 2015-11-19

Energy efficiency is at the forefront of energy policy in many provinces. For example, the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO)Footnote 1 has a mid-term target for electricity savings of an additional seven terrawatt-hours (TW.h) by 2020. The savings are compared to what the electricity demand would have been without the conservation measures introduced since 2010. To provide context, electricity demand in Ontario was approximately 139 TW.h last year.Footnote 2 This “Conservation First” target is part of a broader, long-term target of 30 TW.h by 2032 as outlined in Ontario’s 2013 Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP). The 30 TW.h represents a 16 per cent reduction in the forecast gross demand for electricity in Ontario.

The latest programs and policies for the Conservation First (2015-2020) framework are now being implemented through utilities, by the Local Distribution Companies (LDCs). The LDCs have put forth a full range of measures collectively filed as Conservation and Demand Management (CDM) plans. These include energy efficiency and conservation measures related to equipment and appliance codes and standards, as well as energy use education and awareness. CDM plans also include initiatives aimed at reducing demand and shifting consumption away from peak times.

Ontario has already achieved significant load reductions through CDM measures, but achieving the extra seven TW.h mid-term target requires even larger savings than those achieved in previous years. In fact, annual savings for the 2015 to 2020 period are approximately 90 per cent higher than the average annual savings over the 2011-2014 period.

Figure Sources and Data

Sources: Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan; Conservation First Framework (2015-2020)

Description: The bar graph shows annual energy savings in Ontario for years 2011-2020. The energy savings increase from 0.6 TW.h year in 2011 to 9.6 TW.h in 2020. The seven TW.h savings from 2014 to 2020 represent, on average, a 90 per cent increase in the incremental growth rate compared to average savings between 2011 and 2014.

Ontario is one of many jurisdictions that have a mandate of pursuing energy efficiency as a “least cost” strategy. Ontario estimated that the $2 billion invested in conservation during the first phase of the LTEP from 2006-2011 allowed for the avoidance of $4 billion in new supply costs.

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