Ontario’s greenhouse sector is growing fast, and a new report by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) shows there is great potential for energy efficiency to help manage increasing electricity demand in the sector while reducing costs for greenhouses.
The greenhouse sector is one of the fastest-growing sources of electricity demand in Ontario. In Kingsville-Leamington alone, electricity demand is expected to increase by more than 200 per cent from 2018 to 2026. Vegetable and fruit greenhouses are the largest driver of growth across the province, while cannabis is starting to have an impact as growers ramp up their operations.
The IESO, with support from Enbridge Gas Inc. and the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, collaborated with Ontario’s agriculture sector to produce the Greenhouse Energy Profile Study. The study summarizes how energy is used across sub-sectors and regions in 2018 and forecasts energy use and savings potential from 2019 to 2024.
“Supporting Ontario’s thriving greenhouse sector is a priority of the IESO,” says Terry Young, the IESO’s Vice President of Policy, Engagement, and Innovation. “Providing opportunities for energy efficiency and innovation will complement transmission upgrades by making best use of existing infrastructure. This will help ensure that greenhouses have the reliable and affordable electricity they need to grow.”
As one of the most cost-effective energy resources, energy efficiency provides a valuable resource to help offset the cost of energy supply at 2 cents per KWh. Energy efficiency can help manage increasing electricity demand while supporting business growth and competitiveness.
The Save on Energy Retrofit program, available through the IESO, can help greenhouses better manage their energy use and reduce monthly electricity costs through incentives to upgrade various equipment and lighting.
The IESO is also inviting proposals through its Grid Innovation Fund from November 18 to February 14, 2020, for innovative indoor agricultural projects that have the potential to cost-effectively reduce electricity demand from facilities during local and provincial peak periods.
Community engagement is critical to understanding future electricity needs, and the IESO has been active in the Windsor-Essex region to ensure the electricity system is set to handle new growth. Earlier this year, the IESO requested Hydro One develop a new transmission line from Chatham to Leamington that will increase electricity supply to the area.