Yesterday, it was quietly announced that the program ecoEnergy Retrofit Homes program has been canceled. This is really too bad as the program was very popular, to the point were the government was forced to add more money each year to cover all the grants. I have completed one project under the program, a geothermal system, and currently we are in the process of a home renovation that will qualify for some grant money. It seems a shame that the Government of Canada would cancel the program as it seemed to be achieving two goals, the obvious environmental impact of lowering a homes environmental impact and also encouraging people to put money back into their homes.
This Hydoro Electric Barrel Generator is a pretty cool idea. There has been a lot of talk about run of river hydro but this takes the idea in a new direction. It is worth checking out the section about the development, amazing how one invention can lead to another one.
The IESO, Independent Electricity System Operator, is mandated with managing the demand and supply of Ontario’s open electricity market. Their site has an impressive amount of historical and real time data. For example, if you want to see what the current makeup of electricity feeding into the grid is right now, they can show you with a nice little pie chart on their homepage. Another is the IESO Wind Power Map which shows the current wind energy being supplied onto the grid.
If you live in Ontario then I highly encourage you to check out Green Energy Act and sign the petition. The Ontario government is supposed to bring forward a new Energy Act later this month. The hope is that the act will contain provisions for a much needed transition of the electricity gird to support more renewable energy production at the local community level. The act and subsequent follow through could help catapult Ontario to the forefront of green energy in North America. We have a lot of catching up todo to countries in Europe but this could be a great first step.
If you live in Ottawa or Toronto (other areas are covered as well) then I suggest you check out the peaksaver program. The idea is to help the utilities control the load on the electricity system during peak periods. By signing up for the program you allow your utility to bump your thermostat setting a few degrees when necessary (think 30+ days in the summer).
For giving up a little control they pass along some nice incentives. You get a one time rebate for signing up. They also come to your home to install a new programmable thermostat which has a pretty cool feature, allowing control from a website. This feature is great if you set the thermostat to hold while you are away on vacation, just login a few hours before you get home and you return to a nice comfortable house. Not bad for something that costs you nothing but a degree or two!