Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ontario Moving Forward with Combined Heat and Power

The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has recently provided updates on its progress towards integrating 1,000 megawatts (MW) of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) into Ontario's electricity system. During its management teleconference and webcast on December 3, 2010, the OPA indicated it was on track to introduce draft rules on a feed-in tariff (FIT) program for CHP projects under 20 MW. It has followed that up by publishing this update on its website.

Ontario's energy industry has been aware of the value of CHP for some time, but the desire to incorporate this technology into existing infrastructure has only recently picked up some serious steam. The OPA previously procured and developed CHP projects such as Markham District Energy, Durham College District Energy and the London Cogeneration Project. Since it is currently managing contracts that represent more than 450 MW of CHP-based technology procured through past initiatives, this leaves approximately 500 MW for additional projects.

To better understand how to develop and integrate these projects, the province's Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) coordinated a fact-finding tour to Denmark in the summer of 2009 for a number of its members. A video of the EDA excursion can be viewed here.

The EDA's choice of Denmark was an inspired one because of the leadership demonstrated by Danish cities such as Copenhagen which use CHP to supply 97% of the city with heating. The Copenhagen district heating system is one of the world's largest, oldest and most successful. It was set up in 1984 to capture waste heat from garbage incineration and CHP plants - normally released into the sea – and channel it back through pipes into residents' homes.  The system has cut household bills by 1,400 EUR annually, and saved Copenhagen the equivalent of 203,000 tons of oil every year thereby reducing CO2 emissions by 665,000 tons.

The current push by the OPA to develop CHP emerged from a Ministerial directive on November 23, 2010.  It instructed the OPA to continue to individually negotiate CHP contracts for projects over 20 MW, while implementing the FIT program for anything under 20 MW while limited to "cost-effective projects located in areas of the province where they can be accommodated in the local distribution system and where there are local benefits."

Interested parties can visit the OPA CHP update page to sign up for updates or get more information from the OPA.

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