OSEA's Combined Energy Options Ontario Workshop

07 Jul 2016 9:30 AM | Deleted user

By: Yvonne Ho 

On Tuesday June 28th, OSEA hosted the Combined Energy Options Ontario (CEOO) Workshop. The study, aptly named “Combined Energy Options Ontario” - or CEOO - is in its initial planning stages. CEOO's goal is to model a 100% sustainable energy (electrical, thermal and transportation) system built on a portfolio of sustainable energy technologies, based on the needs and resources of Ontario’s different regions. The study will investigate how Ontario can cover the long-term energy needs while meeting its carbon emission targets and socioeconomic needs. The project is modeled after the Kombikraftwerk 2 project conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute IWES with great success and impact in Germany.

Nicole Risse, Interim Executive Director of OSEA, started the day off by welcoming the workshop participants and giving a brief introduction of OSEA and the CEOO project. Workshop attendees comprised of OSEA members, academics and industry professionals, were then given a more in-depth overview of this project by the co-chair of OSEA’s board, Christine Koenig, who is also the principal instigator of this project. Christine explained that the timing is right for such a research project to be carried out in our province, since Ontario is currently at the point where it has to make important decisions about massive energy infrastructural changes. The CEOO project has a grand vision for Ontario to shift from its current centralized system, to a decentralized, integrated and inclusive energy system that is 100% sustainable by 2050.

The CEOO Project

One of the primary objectives of this project is to discover when and how such an energy system can be realized, and whether it is economically feasible. In addition, the project aims to investigate economic, environmental and social opportunities surrounding a combined energy system, while identifying technological and political barriers to its implementation. Christine mentioned that an important outcome would be for the project to lend itself to effective public communication and education of key stakeholders and politicians, by emphasizing the potential and opportunities of such an energy future. Christine and the CEOO team have already consulted with their German partners who were involved with the Fraunhofer project, with hopes of learning how to leverage European best practices and provide benefits for our province.

Since this initiative is in its early stages, some of the proposed next steps include: in-depth project planning, creation of a project organization (consisting of a steering committee and 6 working groups), and the formation of a project consortium. The consortium, which will include the Fraunhofer Institute, would consist of a variety of Canadian partners who can bring expertise or experience to CEOO and help see it to completion, either by contributing in-kind support or funding to the project. A final deliverable of the project would comprise an educational video and an interactive map of the combined 100% sustainable energy systems in Ontario.

The Fraunhofer Project in Germany

The workshop participants also had the rare opportunity to learn firsthand about Germany’s Kombikraftwerk project suite from Dr. Stefan Bofinger, a representative from the Fraunhofer IWES (Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology). Stefan provided insight into the energy scenario in Germany, and the scope, structure and major outcomes of the study conducted by IWES. Ever since the renewable energy act was introduced in 2000, German households were able to install rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems through the government’s feed-in-tariff program. Germany has since seen a significant PV growth - from less than 5% to 37% between 2002 and 2016; comparably, wind energy grew from 12% to 40% in the same time period. Close to 30% of Germany’s electricity system is now supplied by renewable energy, with wind and PV contributing a large proportion to this mix.

Some of the scientific modeling projects the IWES conducted include:

1.     A German RES Power Plant project that scaled the energy demand in the entire country using real operations of RES power plants— demonstrating over a one-month period that their demands can indeed be met by these plants.

2.     A simulation of a 100% renewable electricity future that models in detail the country’s future electricity generation and demands— using a mixed approach of PV, wind and biogas (determination of storage demand, generation peaks, surpluses from fluctuation and deficits were all included in this modeling).

3.     The geographical analysis for possible renewable energy locations (i.e. wind, PV, bioenergy, and energy consumption sites), by evaluating a combination of criteria such as land use, land cover, topography, roads and infrastructure, characterization of offshore area, water depths, demography, and location of inhabitants.

Outcomes of these studies implicated that it is highly possible for Germany to be powered with 100% renewable energy in the future. Stefan noted that Germany has a dense population, and the distribution and level of wind/solar energy potentials are less than optimal in many instances – therefore if such an energy future is feasible in Germany, it can be possible anywhere else in the world. He then proceeded to explain how this study can be made relevant to the Ontario situation, and elucidated how an ideal CEOO project should look like (i.e. one that adapts to the Canadian situation and involves all sectors – electricity, heating and cooling, transportation, and industrial processes).

By the end of the workshop, OSEA members, academic partners and industry professionals were enthusiastic about the potential outcomes that the CEOO project would have for Ontario and the many opportunities for knowledge transfer between Canada and Germany. As Christine said, the time is ripe for our province to take charge and lead positive transformations in its own energy future. If our German counterparts can do it, so can we!

For more information on the CEOO project, please contact Nicole Risse at Nicole@ontario-sea.org or Christine Koenig at Christine@ontariosustainability.ca

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