Energy Efficiency / Conservation
Can our ability to conserve offset the growing electricity demands of our country?
Canadian electric utilities have decades of experience in delivering effective energy efficiency programs to their customers and believe that energy efficiency has an important role in meeting environmental commitments, helping Canadians manage their electricity bills in challenging economic times while helping the electricity industry meet the challenges of the need for new supply and delivery infrastructure.
- Canadians are increasingly recognizing the benefits and importance of better managing their electricity consumption. Canadians are in favour of energy efficiency and conservation and their primary motivation for taking energy efficiency action is to save money.
- Electric utilities have been delivering energy efficiency and conservation programs to their customers for decades. Electric utility programs have resulted in popular acceptance of efficiency products. Canadians continue to look to their electric utility to provide them with programs and information about reducing their electricity consumption.
- Because of our climate (harsh winters and hot summers,) and because relatively cheap and plentiful electricity has become synonymous with life in Canada, we are the seventh largest consumer of electricity in the world according to 2008 numbers. In fact, Canadians have long enjoyed some of the lowest electricity prices in the world. The bulk of Canada’s electricity generation comes from hydropower. Approximately 77 per cent of our electricity generation comes from sources, like hydro and nuclear, that are non-emitting.
- Twenty years ago the electricity grid served 27.5 million people. In 20 years, it will be expected to meet the needs of an estimated 42 million Canadians. It is aging and it’s time to make some choices about how we want to renew it. Managing our consumption has done great things for Canada and it does help the environment. But our ability to conserve will not offset the electricity demands of our growing country.
- Our personal demand for electricity continues to grow as we adopt more and more technology into our lives. Natural Resources Canada says the amount of energy used to power home electronics in the residential sector more than doubled between 1990 and 2007. And as we move as a society away from fossil fuels, both in generating electricity and in the vehicles we drive, we will further ramp up the demand for electrons.
- There is, however, a large, untapped reservoir of energy efficiency potential in Canada which could make a significant contribution to meeting this future electricity demand. Smart grid technology will assist conservation-minded Canadians even further. The industry can help with tools for home energy efficiency, but we are all challenged to open the spigot and make energy efficiency and conservation part of the fabric of Canada’s electricity landscape.