Smart from Sunrise to Sunset
A Primer on Ontario’s Evolving Electricity Grid
- Download the full report (.pdf)
Toronto, 15 Oct 2014 – Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner today released Smart from Sunrise To Sunset, to alert the public and decision makers to the ability of the Smart Grid to change how they think about electricity.
The report is a non-technical primer that describes how a 24-hour day will be different with the widespread adoption of the Smart Grid.
“The Smart Grid is unfamiliar to most people, even though it will transform how we generate and distribute electricity,” said Commissioner Gord Miller. “Smart From Sunrise to Sunset not only describes the new technology, but outlines how the changes will benefit Ontario’s electricity consumers.”
The Smart Grid takes our existing grid and enhances it with modern communications technology and computerized sensors and monitors. It turns our passive, one-way network into a two-way flow of electricity and information that offers greater possibilities for consumers.
Miller says Ontario can build on its strong electricity infrastructure and transition to a Smart Grid. “It is a shrewd investment that will benefit both individual electricity consumers and society as a whole.”
- Distribution utilities can balance electricity supply and demand by storing energy for later use during peak periods, avoiding the use of fossil-fuelled generators.
- Smartphone apps will monitor people’s electricity usage, and suggest actions to lower consumption and save them money.
- Rather than use expensive electricity during times of peak demand, appliances will be able to automatically reduce demand and shift usage to lower-priced time periods.
- With sensors on power lines, utilities can react quickly to any outage, rerouting power and restoring it to blacked-out neighborhoods.
- Utilities could maximize the use of clean electricity produced locally by thousands of homes, businesses and schools.
- Electric vehicles will be scheduled to automatically recharge overnight when the price is lowest and the power is produced by clean, low-carbon generators.
- Eventually, electric vehicle owners may be able to sell the power they don’t need back to the utility, when prices are higher.
“Smart Grid technologies have the potential,” says Miller, “to improve reliability, reduce system costs, empower customers and lower the environmental impact of the electricity we use. Consumers need to know about this potential so they can ask their utilities for the services a Smart Grid can provide.”