Tuesday, May 28, 2024
The Portlands Energy Centre near Cherry Beach. Photo: Portlands

“More than a decade” to develop Toronto’s new electricity infrastructure: Smith

In response to doubled electricity demand in the city by 2050, the Ontario government and the City of Toronto visited the Portlands Energy Centre on April 11 to announce that the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) will draft a new Integrated Regional Resource Plan for Toronto by early next year following public consultation throughout 2024, according to a recent Ontario release.

“Building new electricity infrastructure, especially in a busy and growing city like Toronto, can take more than a decade to develop and deploy, so it’s critical we start planning early so we can put shovels in the ground sooner,” said Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith.

“Toronto is growing – we’re building new housing, transit and community spaces – all of which are going to need more power,” said Mayor Olivia Chow.

These comments call into question the feasibility of Toronto’s plan to require all ground transportation vehicles (Taxis, limos and rideshare) to be fully electric by 2032. At a September 21st, 2023 Economic Development (ED) Committee meeting, Councillors including Paula Fletcher and Chair Alejandro Bravo expressed concerns about the availability of sufficient vehicles and charging stations to make the concept feasible.

According to Ontario Power Generation, peak electricity demand in Toronto is currently 4,700 megawatts, which is about 20 per cent of the peak demand for the entire province. The addition of the Ontario line and electrification of GO Transit alone are expected to add 100 megawatts of energy demand to the grid, according to the IESO.

Abdul Mahamoud of Co-op Cabs spoke to Toronto’s Economic Development Committee about fully electric vehicles on September 21, 2023. “Most of the drivers do not have a home or house or private garages to charge their EVs. And the other thing is the charging infrastructure is not in place. It will be difficult for cab drivers who work a lot of hours, 8-10 hours a day, to take a downtime when there’s not enough charging stations available.”