Canadian Biomass Magazine

News Sustainability
London community to serve as site for renewable energy demonstration project


September 29, 2021
By Government of Ontario

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A demonstration project is being launched in London, Ont. to see how a community can work with the government toward generating renewable energy to help protect the environment and lower electricity costs.

The demonstration site chosen is the city’s Sifton Properties’ West 5 development, which is a 70-acre, multi-use community.

“We are excited to enable this partnership between Sifton Properties and London Hydro that will allow us to explore how net metering can be used at the local level,” Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith said. “Testing new types of energy models is key to the future of our province as it gives us the chance to find new ways to save electricity customers money, support our economy by investing in emerging renewable technologies, and protect the environment.”

West 5 will be the first to use this new model in Ontario, which will see its residences, office space and retirement living integrate solar panels, solar parkades, electric vehicle chargers, green roofs, and other innovative elements to help lower energy costs for residents and businesses, while building a more sustainable community for the future.

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In a community net metering (CNM) model, a community can generate its own electricity using renewable sources and send excess power to the grid for a credit on their electricity bill. These credits could then be shared across multiple households and businesses in the community to reduce electricity bills when using power from the grid. This innovative model would give customers more options to manage their energy use, saving them money while building more sustainable communities.

The demonstration project will be an opportunity to understand the potential for CNM to support businesses, local governments, and Indigenous communities as they pursue innovative approaches to community-based energy systems and sustainability goals, like net-zero energy and net-zero water consumption.

“Net metering innovation harnesses clean, green technology to save taxpayers money – a combination that we all can get behind,” David Piccini, minister of the environment, conservation and parks, said. “This is an exciting opportunity for London and for all of Ontario, where our clean energy grid is a huge advantage for families and businesses. I look forward to seeing the results of this demonstration and what net metering can mean for more projects that support a sustainable future.”

Vinay Sharma, CEO of London Hydro, said that through the CNM program, London Hydro will develop innovative new tools and technology as well as gain valuable experience in installing and operating a microgrid. “When completed, this project is expected to help avoid nearly 30 Mwh of energy usage annually while offsetting about 20 megatons of CO2 over a 10-year period.”

Richard Sifton, president and CEO of Sifton Properties, said community net metering opens the doors for micro grids, battery storage, high speed bus or car charging.