Electrification on the Map

With Canada in the throes of (another) Federal Election, the subject of electrification, and how to achieve this at the pace necessary, is getting more attention than any previous federal campaign. Subscribers to the Globe and Mail might have seen Adam Radwanski’s full spread on the policy pieces that federal parties should include to electrify everything.

Former OREC President, Dick Bakker, submitted this response to this piece:

Reading this article calls to mind Albert Einstein’s famous quote “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”


The traditional, unidirectional electricity system from big central generation sites, with top down control, hopefully will be replaced with a new grid of distributed renewable generation, decarbonized and locally controlled.   New entrants will bring the advanced technology that the traditional utilities resist and introduce local capital to address community level opportunities.  The regulators, pension funds and unions that have benefited from the last hundred plus years of centralized planning must adapt, as their traditional solutions are simply too expensive and unreliable.   Distributed renewables, with battery storage, optimized for the distribution network, and integrated with demand response are simply cheaper and more resilient.


Massive changes are coming  to our electricity system; hopefully Canada can leap ahead of where we are today, by localizing most of the benefits.


Oh, and the climate would benefit too!

OREC’s project atop the Collège catholique Mer Bleue is located in the grid-constrained area of Stittsville. OREC is working to uplift net metered solar as an important tool to combat grid constraint. (Photo: Enviromarketing)

For years, OREC has been calling for electrification via renewables, supported by bringing untapped community capital to the table. The co-op has actively participated in regional energy planning sessions, discussions with various local distribution companies, and lifting up its own projects as examples of non-wired solutions to grid constraint. OREC is continuing to work with others in the environmental space to push back against the troublessome trend of Ontario’s gas-fired electricity increasing as a shortsighted solution to growing demand.

While most of these issues fall under the Province of Ontario’s purview, OREC remains keenly focused on the Federal Election, supportive of policies that support electrification through renewable energy deployment, in particular when these policies allow for direct community ownership.