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February 2009
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What about artificially increasing the price of power to curb demand?

I had an interesting presentation tonight, delivered by Amir Shalaby of The Ontario Power Authority, it was all about energy and its future in Ontario. The presentation covered a breadth of topics from demand to supply, from current use to projected use, from non-renewable to renewable energy sources. What really stuck with me is the Ontario’s future demand may not increase, even though it is projected that the population will grow between 15 and 20% within the next 10 years.

How is this possible?

Over the past few years there have been great advances in efficiency of appliances. With the Energy Star requirements overall household energy demands are decreasing. Add to that the new light bulbs that are more efficient and again a households energy demand decreases. You can have your house forensically tested and the experts will tell you where the energy is ‘leaking’ out. The new insulation is much better, plus add in the spray insulation that will fill in all the invisible gaps. And these are only a few examples, there are so many more.

But why do I mention artificially driving up the price of energy?

It seems that everything these days is getting more expensive, our salaries definitely are not increasing; effectively the cost of living is rising much faster than our salaries. Some argue that energy is still priced artificially low and that as a society we use it inefficiently. I sit on the side of the fence with these people. I think that all of us could cut our energy demands significantly; turn off more lights, use lower wattages, turn off the water when you don’t need it, always run the dishwasher when it’s full, take shorter showers, irrigate at night … I think the best list of examples is at One Million Acts of Green.

Our future is in our hands, reducing our energy consumption is within our abilities. If you think about it during the recession you can save more money by being an ‘energy watchdog’ and really looking at your consumption patterns.