Conservation First Framework

The 2015-2020 Conservation First Framework maps out Ontario’s energy conservation goals over the next six years, emphasizing a coordinated effort within all stages of energy planning, as well as more effective teamwork among sector partners, particularly in support of local distribution companies (LDCs). The goal of the framework is a total reduction of 8.7 TWh of electricity consumption in Ontario by December, 2020 — 1.7 TWh to be achieved through conservation projects with transmission-connected customers, and 7 TWh from conservation programs delivered by LDCs to residential and business customers across the province.

Flexibility for Distributors and Customer Choice

The framework gives a much larger role to the province’s distributors, each being assigned a share of the 7 TWh target that they can pursue individually or in partnership with other LDCs.

The IESO is providing tools, support and guidance to LDCs to help them meet their targets through the development of a six-year Conservation and Demand Management (CDM) Plan. The plan allows LDCs to design their own program offerings, giving them greater flexibility to align conservation programs to local needs, and give customers more choice. It will also ensure long-term, stable funding to give LDCs the certainty they need to implement and deliver their programs. In addition, administrative requirements now mean the IESO has sole approval over plans and program offerings, ensuring oversight while still streamlining processes.

Achievable Potential Study

The Achievable Potential Study provides an estimate of the short-term electricity conservation potential that is achievable within the Conservation First Framework time frame for the province and for each electricity distributor, as well as the potential over a 20-year horizon.

Note: The Achievable Potential Study and associated reports, originally released on June 30, 2016, were reposted on December 20, 2016 to incorporate corrections to a small number of non-material errors.

Collaboration and Partnerships

A key focus of the 2015 -2020 framework is collaboration to maximize efficiencies and reduce costs. The IESO is working closely with LDCs, who are in turn encouraged to partner with other utilities to meet energy reduction targets. Examples of how teamwork is encouraged include:

  • A simplified approval process for combined CDM plans of two or more LDCs

  • The provision of a specialized template and materials to help utilities adopt a regional approach to resourcing

  • The encouragement of partnerships, where appropriate, with natural gas distributors, for cooperating in areas such as marketing and customer engagement where they share customers or program goals with LDCs

  • Additional financial support through the IESO, above and beyond CDM Plan budgets, for groups of collaborating LDCs that partner within their respective regions or with utilities that share similar opportunities and challenges.

Innovative Program Design Elements

The new Framework promotes innovation and the adoption of new technologies through the LDC Program Innovation Stream. The stream provides additional funding for LDC-led program design and market testing of small-scale pilot programs, which refine program delivery at less risk to the ratepayer.

The IESO will formally include benefits not directly related to energy savings when weighing the total costs and benefits of proposed conservation programs. These include environmental, economic and social benefits, like increased comfort, reductions in carbon emissions, and better air or water quality, and highlight the advantages of conservation to society as a whole.

Transmission-Connected Customer Targets

Customers directly connected to the transmission grid can access the Industrial Accelerator Program, which offers financial incentives to industrial, commercial and institutional customers directly connected to the electricity grid. Incentives encourage the implementation of major energy conservation projects, such as process changes and equipment retrofits.

Resources and Reports

An Examination of the Opportunity for Residential Heat Pumps in Ontario

This report examines the opportunities, barriers and next steps for greater market adoption of energy efficient residential heat pumps in Ontario.  It also explores the benefits of heat pump technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan.