Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources says it has received more than 100 applications representing more than 500 wind-energy projects on the Ontario side of the Great Lakes. Overwhelmed, the ministry has temporarily stopped taking applications until it can review what it has and make sure proper processes are in place for granting approvals. Minister Donna Cansfield gave the update at an offshore wind energy conference in Toronto, where developers and investors across Europe, the U.S. and Canada gathered to talk about the North American opportunity. For more detail on what was discussed at the conference, click here.
Of interest, Vestas has just opened a North American offshore turbine sales office in Toronto. From what I understand the location could have been either Boston or Toronto. It’s easy to read into the choice of Toronto as an early indication that the company is considering a greater presence in Ontario, but it’s too early to tell. Also, this morning Toronto Hydro got approval to put an anemometer in Lake Ontario off the Scarborough Bluffs, where the utility has interest in building a 100 MW offshore wind project. Expect an uproar from anti-wind folks in the area who have consistently and forcefully protested, not only the proposal, but just the idea of putting an anemometer on the lake.
My Clean Break column yesterday takes a look at an overlooked issue on the smart-grid file: privacy and security. Last week Toronto Hydro disclosed that 179,000 customer online accounts had been illegally accessed, along with some personal information. Now, this could have happened to any Web site that gives online access to billing — retailers, banks, your phone or cable company — so this isn’t directly a “smart grid” issue. What it highlights, however, is that utilities are a target like anyone else, and could increasingly be a target as they deploy smart meters and begin to offer energy-management services through the Web. How much energy we use at various times of the day can, surprisingly, say a lot about you and your home. For one, it can tell someone you’re not home. And it can allow someone to track your activities throughout the day. As I point out in the column, the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas last week showed just how easy it can be to remotely infiltrate a network of smart meters and seize control. Of course, we also have to worry about the upstream as well, keeping security issues top of mind as we modernize our transmission systems. This is critical infrastructure, and with more and more points of access being created to enable the “smart grid,” this infrastructure will be increasingly vulnerable to attack.
I’m more and more appreciating the potential role that biogas production will play as our economy moves away from fossil fuels. I have a story today on Toronto Hydro’s efforts to build a 10-megawatt generation facility in the city’s east end that would burn biogas pumped in from a neighbouring wastewater treatment facility. In return, the byproduct thermal energy from the generation process will be sent back to the treatment facility, which relies on heat for a variety of applications. This kind of co-generation setup makes oodles of sense and can — and should — be replicated across other municipalities. The Ashbridge’s Bay treatment facility in Toronto’s east end is ideal because of its size. As the largest facility of its kind in the country, it treats the wastewater that’s flushed from 1.3 million residents.
The opportunities to tap energy from decaying biomass are seemingly endless. Cavendish Farms, a maker of potato products in Prince Edward Island, recently announced the commissioning of a facility that turns potato waste into biogas, which is then used in the boilers of the potato processing plant. Continue reading A million flushes can generate some serious power
About 10,000 Toronto Hydro customers already on smart meters will soon be moving to time-of-use pricing and the rest will be moving by the end of this year, so it makes sense that the utility give folks a way to actually see their electricity use. The company just announced this morning it will be testing out Google’s PowerMeter on select customers, making it the first Canadian utility to do so. If the trial is successful, Toronto Hydro said it may make the software available to all of its customer. Keep in mind the information provided through the Google PowerMeter won’t be granular — i.e., it won’t provide energy usage of individual appliances; just overall residential energy use.
NOTE: My story in the Toronto Star.
I say “must-see”, of course, because I’ll be moderating the panel 🙂
But seriously, this year’s Green Living Show in Toronto between April 24 and 26 will be more geared this year to the cleantech crowd, specifically on Day 1 . Beginning with some opening comments from Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Toronto mayor David Miller (and a provincial announcement of some sort), the panel will kick off at around 10 a.m. and will explore what businesses can do to benefit from cleantech and green energy. About 30 or so CEOs from Canada’s cleantech sector will be in the audience as well.
Panelists will include:
1) Nick Parker, co-founder and executive chairman and overall excellent guy of the Cleantech Group.
2) Dr. Hermann Scheer, author, German legislator and president of EUROSOLAR.
3) David O’Brien, president and CEO of Toronto Hydro Corp.
4) Someone from PriceWaterhouseCoopers will also be on the panel to talk about the tax benefits/implications for businesses that purchase/deploy green technologies.
The morning session will be followed by a keynote speech from Joel Makower, executive editor of GreenBiz.com, co-founder of Clean Edge Inc., author of blog Two Steps Forward, and author of the new business book Strategies for the Green Economy.
It should be an interesting and informative morning… and show.