OPA and Hydro One propose new hyper transmission line for Guelph (Nov 2012)

December 4th, 2012

OPA and Hydro One propose new hyper transmission line for Guelph (Nov 2012)
Clean Air Alliance presents an alternative to a hyper transmission line with a peaker plant.

Guelph’s solution for energy supply is the Community Energy Initiative which CoC supports.( Nov 2012)
Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative.. http://guelph.ca/living.cfm?smocid=2407

Nov 30/12
Dear Mayor Farbridge and City Councillors,

Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative is well known. We are on the vanguard of some courageous cities that are making the changes necessary to accommodate increased population and energy use and climate change. As a city we have committed through our plan to “use less energy in 25 years than we do today” and to use less energy per capita than comparable cities in Canada. We also want to produce less greenhouse gas per capita. Our plan has been years in the making with much research from experts and wide involvement from citizens, organizations and groups in Guelph.

The current plan of Ontario Power Authority and Hydro One is to increase capacity of transmission lines and possibly bring a fossil-fuelled peak demand power plant to this area. The plan is called the Guelph Area Transmission Refurbishment (GATR) Project. Implementation of GATR would reduce the viability of the Guelph Community Energy Initiative.

We understand that Mississauga and Oakville have rejected this kind of plan. We, too, want to register our opposition. First, it is tremendously expensive. We think that spending millions of dollars on a system that increases our dependence on fossil fuels and increases greenhouse gas emissions is wrong, especially when so much innovation is happening in the renewable energy field and the cost of renewable energy is decreasing. In addition, the increased fine particulates from a fossil fuel plant would increase air quality problems here. There is much medical information on the negative effects of these plants on the health of citizens.

Therefore, we believe that the best scenario for Guelph is for OPA and Ontario Hydro to support funding of the CEI, which would require a fraction of the amount that it would take to implement the plan for a new transmission line with a possible peaker plant in future.

OPA and Ontario Hydro could do a cost/benefit analysis to show that conservation/FIT would be adequate based on our new CEI projections. Guelph Hydro could hire students to sign up residents for the “peaksaver plus” plan. We could also implement a plan to support and carry out retrofits with a fraction of the money thereby lowering energy demand. We have used the model of education and downsizing before with our water use and our garbage.

The last two years, the OPA funded a local initiative that was well received by people in Guelph. Guelph Urban Forest Friends and the City of Guelph Healthy Landscapes and LEAF promoted “Cool Communities” where Guelph residents bought a tree to reduce energy demand for their homes and helped to cool the city. It worked well and could be stepped up with more emphasis on contributing to the CEI.

Finally, we know that the OPA has applications from Guelph Hydro and private sector developers for producing more than 50 megawatts of electricity through solar photovoltaics and through combined heat and power (CHP). The city needs to advocate for these projects so that we can continue to move ahead on our CEI. These all include jobs in Guelph and the GATR plan would sap the strength from companies that are keen to go ahead at this time. These jobs will help us build the resilience that we strive to achieve.

Our CEI rests heavily on citizens that are well informed about conservation and energy efficiency. We know we need to do a lot more in this area. With your help we will succeed and will save Ontario many millions of dollars at the same time.

Sincerely yours,

Norah Chaloner and Keith Bellairs for Guelph Chapter, Council of Canadians.

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