[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]

[mk_dropcaps style=”simple-style”]A[/mk_dropcaps]fter being appointed Ontario’s minister of energy in February 2013, Bob Chiarelli received praise and criticism for the long-term energy strategy he promoted — most notably the province’s push toward renewables. We sat down with Chiarelli to hear his thoughts on Ontario’s energy landscape.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][mk_image src=”” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”15″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_padding_divider size=”40″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]

The price of energy is a hotly debated issue in Canada. How is Ontario staying competitive?

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”20″]The biggest accomplishment in Ontario is the replacement of dirty coal generation with cleaner energy. In the last seven years, we have eliminated all coal-generated electricity. In emissions savings, that is equivalent to taking seven million motor vehicles off the road. It has reduced the province’s health-care and environmental costs by $4.4 billion.

However, renewable energy costs more than coal. We had to invest $31 billion into a broken system for cleaner energy generation and transmission. It’s getting less expensive, but we’re not at grid parity yet.

However, when you see the higher price of cleaner energy, you need to take into account the savings in healthcare and the environment.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]

Are there energy models developed by other countries that Canada has implemented or should consider implementing?

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”20″]Wind energy practices were prevalent in Europe first, and Canada has adopted some of those. Also, when Ontario started the feed-in-tariff program under the Green Energy Act, we weren’t very good at consulting with communities and inciting large renewables. We looked to how Europe treated these challenges in similar programs.

One method we could build on in Canada is demand response [a program that compensates users for reducing their demand at specific times]. The operating system near New Jersey has reduced their electricity requirements by 10,000 megawatts using demand response schemes.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]

Ontario is emerging as a Canadian leader in energy technology. What are some of the projects you’re excited about?

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”20″]Technology and science in the energy sector is moving like the Internet. We will be in a different world in eight to 12 years in terms of energy efficiency, conservation, safety measures, etc.

As part of the province’s smart grid fund, the Ottawa-based company Solantro Semiconductor has received funding to develop a more compact inverter used in solar power generation. It will help make solar projects less expensive and more efficient.

Another company, Babcock & Wilcox has developed small 250- to 300-megawatt nuclear energy generating units that can be stacked on top of one another.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]

You are known as a champion for energy literacy. What does energy literacy mean to you and why is it important?

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]Energy literacy means a partnership between the government and its citizens.

Having a range of energy sources means Canada can deliver affordable electricity when and where people need it. However, the public does not understand the system. They receive their electricity bill from a local distribution company, and the only thing they’re concerned about is the bottom line on the bill and whether their lights turn on.

But they need to understand all the facets of energy. We have developed a webpage called emPOWERme ( to help with this. The energy sector is extremely important for our economy. However, there are environmental issues associated with energy production. It’s unacceptable for us, as a country, not to be versed in how energy is produced and its safe use. [mk_font_icons icon=”icon-stop” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none”][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″ el_class=”Story-Author”]— Michela Rosano[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]