Ontario Engineers Urges Action on Wind Energy and Solar Power

The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) today released a report entitled "Wind and the Electrical Grid: Mitigating the Rise in Electricity Rates and Greenhouse Gas Emissions." Based on findings from an independent engineering review, OSPE’s report expresses concern that the present electrical grid is not well equipped to integrate a large, rapid increase in intermittent renewable generation. Without policy changes, Ontario will see a significant rise in both electricity rates and greenhouse gas emissions. Submitted to the Minister of Energy on March 7, 2012, the report makes a number of recommendations to help address these threats.

"Ontario’s electrical grid is currently suffering from a lack of effective integration of its generation resources and its demand profile," said Paul Acchione, P.Eng., Chair of OSPE’s Energy Task Force. "After reviewing the Ministry of Energy’s Supply Mix Directive and 2010 Long Term Energy Plan, OSPE felt that an independent review could shed light on the root causes of recent problems, as well as potential solutions."

The 42-page report includes 19 recommendations, nine of which should be acted upon as soon as possible. These include modifying market rules so that all significant generation resources including wind power and solar energy, would be subject to dispatching by the Independent Electricity Systems Operator to eliminate severe supply-demand imbalances, as well as authorizing the Ontario Power Authority to meet the public’s expectations for reliability, cost and environmental performance without ministerial directives. Overall, OSPE urges that engineering principles play a significant role in all energy policy-making.

"The electrical grid is a very complex engineered system that requires the application of engineering expertise to optimize its technical, economic and environmental performance," Mr. Acchione said. "OSPE supports the government’s efforts to reduce pollution, improve sustainability and create green energy jobs, but sound engineering principles must be followed to ensure our electrical grid remains reliable, safe and affordable, as well as environmentally sustainable."