Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) have the potential to be leaders in coordinating and stewarding a Sustainable Energy Transition (SET) in Ontario. However, under the current LCD business model structure, LDCs are unable to capture the benefits from sustainable energy and advance a sustainable energy transition. Separately from LDC operations, sustainable energy is disrupting the electricity system through the proliferation of Distributed Energy Resources, Information and Communication Technology occurring Behind the Meter (BTM). The adoption of BTM applications erodes LDC profitability and threatens their existence. The pushing force from an outdated LDC business model compounded with the pulling force from disruptive sustainable technology has created an opportunity for LDCs to innovate their business model in order to adapt to the changing energy paradigm of the 21st century.
This paper explores and evaluates seven emerging LDC business models used in Ontario and provides a recommendation of a possible pathway for a viable LDC business model that can leverage sustainable energy while maintaining the electrical grid infrastructure.
Evaluation of Ontario’s Cap and Trade Regulation
By Judy But
Using an interdisciplinary framework, this paper evaluates the effectiveness of Ontario’s cap and trade regulation to achieve sustained emission reductions. This framework is shaped by six evaluation criteria to assess the program’s effectiveness: (1) comprehensiveness in scope and coverage of emissions; (2) distributional fairness in the allocation of allowances; (3) effectiveness of the market design; (4) transparency of accommodations and flexibility arrangements; (5) measurability of emission reductions; and (6) the program’s integration potential with broader political, economic and environmental policy initiatives.
The purpose of this major research paper is to examine how existing policies and programs in socio-political contexts comparable to Ontario’s make the inclusion of solar energy technology with affordable housing possible. The paper begins with the investigation of Ontario’s housing and energy systems. Following this assessment is the analysis of existing policy and programs in the United Kingdom and California that facilitate the integration of solar energy technology with affordable housing. The programs discussed in these regions are compared to past, present and future energy efficiency initiatives in Ontario in order to identify which aspects of them can be adopted to facilitate the creation of solar-equipped green affordable housing in the province. The concluding chapter discusses recommended planning and policy actions to be taken at the municipal and provincial level that will incite the creation of solar-equipped green affordable housing in Ontario. The paper highlights the environmental, social and economic benefits of developing domestic solar energy systems as a decarbonization strategy. Together, these benefits act as an endorsement of a potential reality in Ontario in which affordable housing and sustainable housing become synonymous concepts in the age of climate change mitigation.
Turning of the Tides-Assessing the International Implementation of Tidal Current Turbines
By Stephen J. Sangiuliano
This paper examines the physics behind tidal movements, the technological operation of tidal current turbines (TCTs), and how these factors function to make tidal current renewable energy advantageous by comparison to other renewables due to its predictability, reliability, and ability to provide base-load power. Environmental impacts on benthic and pelagic habitats, hydrology, sediments, and marine wildlife, are analyzed, concluding that TCTs are essentially environmentally benign if sited and scaled appropriately. Economic barriers are examined suggesting that the injections of renewable energy subsidies and environmental externalities into electricity prices make TCT implementation economically feasible. Best practices of marine spatial planning from world leading nations are examined, calling for the dissemination of information amongst test facilities in order to provide a standardized baseline assessment criterion to inform the zoning processes of nations. Finally, an analysis of implementation of TCTs in Canada, China, and Norway is presented. The results demonstrate that harnessing the tidal resources for each nation can result in an aggregate installed capacity of 9.072GW through the deployment of 7,519 TCTs at the cost of $8,218,144,984, creating 15,516 jobs. This would produce 29.93TWh/yr at 22 cents/kWh, eliminating 14,965,000t of CO2e, approximately 0.1% of the projected global electricity demand for 2016.
Using the Agreement on Internal Trade to Promote a more Sustainable Electricity Sector in Canada
By Zachary D'Onfrio, MES 2016
The purpose of this major paper is to examine the potential for the Agreement on Internal Trade (“AIT”) to facilitate electricity trade between the provinces of Ontario and Québec. The AIT covers a wide range of topics, but its chapter on energy was never completed. The principle objective of this paper is to identify current interprovincial trade barriers in the electricity sector and determine whether the addition of an energy chapter to the AIT would be a viable method of minimizing those barriers.
Renewable Energy Mobility
By Mustafa Nazari, MES 2015
As the urban population soars to 86 per cent in Ontario, municipalities will face increased pressure to plan for energy as it is intrinsically linked to the urban infrastructure. The widespread deployment of renewable energy is severely limited by the provincial governments in Canada. This project report starts by discussing the role of municipalities in energy planning in Ontario. The report will mainly focus on my experiences on designing and implementing a modular solar photovoltaic (PV) charging station structure for electric vehicles at Keele Campus, York University. Mainly, this report outlines the steps involved in developing a 6.84 kW solar PV structure with local industry partners. It covers the design criteria established to maintain key aspect and goals of the Renewable Energy Mobility (REM) project. The report ends with discussions and concluding remarks regarding the development, design, installation, policy and energy structure implications of the REM project.
Energy Storage Leading Ontario to a Emission-free Electricity System
By Adam Jones, BES 2015
The purpose of this research is to understand the role that energy storage plays in the current energy supply mix of Ontario and its potential to expand the role of renewable energy (RE) and reduce carbon emissions from electrical generation. To achieve this goal it was necessary to first understand what is meant by the term energy storage, review the benefits that storage technologies can provide to electricity systems with and without relation to renewable energy. Second, it was necessary to understand how electricity systems are organized and regulated and why this impacts development of energy storage. Third, it was necessary to understand the case of Ontario; the regulatory environment, existing energy storage facilities, and influence of renewable energy.
From Smart Grids to the Internet of Energy
By Scott Weiler, MES 2014
Globally, electricity systems are undergoing rapid modernization as they transition into the digital era of the ‘Smart Grid’. By integrating information and communication technology with the electricity grid, the smart grid will become a highly automated network with two-way flows of electricity and information. This research questions whether the smart grid will be an evolutionary technology that enhances grid operations, but maintains the existing institutional order, or will the smart grid be a revolutionary technology that disrupts the natural monopoly of electricity utilities. This research also explores the potential for the smart grid to cause a broader transformation in energy systems that will bring about a sustainable energy transition.
Advancing District Energy in Ontario's Urban Municipalities
By David MacMillan, MES 2014
The purpose of this project is to understand and demonstrate some of the high-level aspects of planning for district energy as a means to facilitate implementation, primarily for planners and other municipal staff interested in district energy. A literature review and interviews with land developers, municipal staff, district energy experts and university personnel provided the basis for conceptual discussion. In addition, a case study of the opportunity to expand York University’s Keele Campus district energy network, which employed several quantitative methods, yielded important practical lessons regarding planning for district energy.
Fuelling a Superpower Sustainability
By Paul Cockburn, MES 2013
The United States has made significant commitments to expanding sustainable energy in recent years, seeking to achieve ecological gains, growth in GDP and jobs, and increased national security. This paper examines some of these sustainable energy strategies, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and the opening of land for renewable energy development by the Department of the Interior (DOI), to determine whether or not the U.S has achieved their sustainable energy goals so far. The paper also identifies significant barriers to sustainable energy in the U.S, including increased natural gas production and the approaching end of some federal sustainable energy incentive programs.
Electricity Conservation Policy in Ontario
By Rebecca Mallinson, MES 2013
This paper assesses the effectiveness of Ontario’s electricity conservation policy framework according to six criteria developed through examining best practices and successful strategies employed in leading North American jurisdictions. After identifying problem areas and cross-cutting themes, the paper contributes twenty recommendations to the conversation about how to best move forward with electricity conservation policy in Ontario.
Community Energy Planning: State of Practice in Canada
By Bahareh Toghiani Rizi, MES 2012
The purpose of this major paper is to broadly examine the state of practice of community energy planning (CEP) in Canada by exploring its definition, reasons for implementation, and differences between its theory and practice. Its principle objective is to bridge gaps in an area of study in which secondary literature has been sparse and limited in scope, providing insight on successful approaches to climate change mitigation through community energy planning. A comparative analysis is performed through a secondary literature review, multiple document analysis, and four case studies that employ the use of interviews.
The primary aim of this research is to analyse and synthesise findings related to i) the prevailing renewable energy (RE) context in Ontario as well as global RE financing trends; ii) financing model design criteria and trade-offs; iii) key supporting policies for RE deployment; iv) alternative RE financing models; and v) an integrated financing model in Ontario, Canada.
Small Scale, Big Impact: A Comprehensive Evaluation of Ontario’s microFIT Program
By Dawn Strifler, MES 2012
This paper presents a comprehensive evaluation of the energy production, economic, social, and political impacts of Ontario's microFIT Program - a feed-in tariff for micro-scale renewable energy projects. In an effort to determine whether the program can be justified from political and sustainability perspectives, the paper examines the government’s goals for the program and determines whether they have been met; investigates the full range of program benefits and detriments, and utilizes sustainability assessment criteria to evaluate whether the program can be considered sustainable; and assesses whether policy acceptance has been achieved among various stakeholder groups.
Operationalizing Feed-in Tariffs in Ontario: A Solar Photovoltaic Development
By Jay Willmot, MES 2012
This project report details the development of a 200kW AC / 270kW DC rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system on Kinghaven farm in King City, ON. It covers both the regulatory requirements associated with interconnecting with the Ontario electrical grid, and the steps involved in procuring and developing the solar PV system itself. The report finishes with conclusions and reflections about the development process and lessons learned throughout its execution.
This paper examines how a community-based renewable power industry can be established in Ontario. It explores and compares the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) regimes in the three European nations with Ontario’s FIT scheme and suggests how Ontario’s system can be modified to promote greater investment from community-based power developers.
Disclaimer: due to legislative changes/amendments, some of the provisions cited in this MRP may have slightly changed
Ontario’s Low-Carbon Transition: The Role of a Provincial Cap-and-Trade Program
By Ian Rice, MES 2011
This research paper broadly examined the politics of climate change policy in Ontario before delving into complex design questions around how a cap-and-trade system could be developed in Ontario that would drive the transition to a low-carbon economy.
The Sustainability Case for Community Power: Empowering Communities Through Renewable Energy
By Sarah Martin, MES 2011
Sarah’s master’s research paper, The Sustainability Case for Community Power: Empowering Communities through Renewable Energy, evaluates community models that support renewable energy projects, using a sustainability metric that was developed through her program.