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Ontario Energy Board Putting Up Barriers to Energy Conservation
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Ontario Energy Board Putting Up Barriers to Energy Conservation

Toronto, June 14, 2011 – Ontario’s Environmental
Commissioner says the province’s energy regulator
is putting up barriers to increased energy
conservation. This is just one of the conclusions
from his Annual Energy Conservation Progress
Report – 2010 (Volume One), Managing a Complex Energy System, released today.

"The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) plays a
valuable role in protecting consumer interests,
but this traditional regulatory function is in
conflict with its expanded powers over
conservation," says Commissioner Gord Miller. He
points to recent decisions by the OEB that have
forced both electricity and natural gas
distributors to restrict the conservation programs they offer to consumers.

One of the OEB’s key objectives is to promote
energy conservation, but the Board recently told
Union Gas and Enbridge Gas Distribution to
curtail proposed increases in their conservation
budgets and instead, freeze them at existing
levels for the next three years. "The
‘low-hanging fruit’ in conservation has already
been harvested," says Miller, "but the Board
won’t approve the investments that are necessary
to accomplish further energy savings. The Board
is ignoring the benefits that will come with
reduced infrastructure costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions."

The progress report also says the OEB has
established rules that could hinder the
Conservation and Demand Management (CDM) programs
offered by the province’s electricity utilities.
"The Ontario Power Authority has designed
province-wide conservation programs, yet it’s the
electric utilities who will carry them out. The
Ontario Energy Board has given utilities all of
the responsibility but none of the freedom to
modify or improve programs if necessary."

Conservation is only one of the areas where the
OEB has been asked to take on an expanded
policy-making role. The government has also told
the OEB to facilitate the adoption of the smart
grid – a modernized electricity system that uses
information technology to operate more
efficiently. Miller believes that "one entity has
to be given the responsibility for establishing
the vision of an integrated electricity system,
and providing the leadership for modernizing our
electricity grid." However, the Commissioner
questions whether the OEB would be the
appropriate choice to achieve this innovative
objective, given its conflicted responsibilities.

To watch the Commissioner’s pre-recorded comments, please visit:

For more information, contact:
Maria Leung
Communications and Outreach Coordinator
Environmental Commissioner of Ontario
416-325-3371 / 416-819-1673

For French language release and bilingual support, please contact:
Jean-Marc Filion, 705-492-6997

The report is available for download at

Aussi disponible en français

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The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario is the
province’s independent environmental watchdog.
Appointed by the Legislative Assembly, the ECO
monitors and reports on compliance with the
Environmental Bill of Rights, the government’s
progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and
its actions towards achieving greater energy conservation in Ontario.

Report Summary

Managing a Complex Energy System:
Annual Energy Conservation Progress Report – 2010 (Volume One)

Under the Environmental Bill of Rights,1993, the
Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO)
reports annually to the Legislative Assembly of
Ontario on the province’s progress in energy
conservation. Managing a Complex Energy System,
the first volume of the 2010 energy conservation
report, reviews policy developments that occurred
over the year, highlights concerns with the
current policy agenda and outlines
recommendations to further conservation in Ontario.

The Long-Term Energy Plan

In 2010, the government restarted the development
of the Integrated Power System Plan by issuing
the Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) and a Supply Mix
Directive. The ECO is pleased the government
acted on a previous recommendation to establish
electricity consumption targets in addition to
peak demand reduction targets. This will reduce
the need for new generating stations,
transmission and distribution lines, and better
reflects the design of many of the conservation
programs available. However, the ECO feels the
LTEP did not adequately explain the difficult
trade-offs necessary when choosing among types of
generation. Furthermore, the LTEP is an energy
plan in name but is an electricity plan in
reality. Ontario needs an energy plan and a
multi-fuel conservation strategy that addresses all energy sources. (Page 11)

Electricity Pricing

Several changes in fiscal policy have affected
the cost of electricity, including the 13%
Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). As a result,
electricity is now treated like other goods and
services, sending a more accurate price signal
about its cost. However, with the Ontario Clean
Energy Benefit the government has essentially
reversed the impact of the HST and restored an
artificial price subsidy on electricity, creating
a perverse incentive that undermines
conservation. Changes were also made to the
Global Adjustment to charge very high prices
during a few hours of very high demand for large
electricity consumers (more than 5 MW). This
change is essentially a form of critical peak
pricing. In general, the ECO supports this
incentive to reduce peak demand and urges the
government to expand critical peak pricing to
smaller consumers and adjust some inequities in
the allocation of costs in the Global Adjustment. (Page 21)

A New Conservation Framework

A new Conservation and Demand Management (CDM)
framework for electric utilities has been
implemented for 2011 to 2014. For the first time
utilities have been mandated to meet conservation
targets based on a provincial target of 1,330 MW
and 6,000 GWh. The Ontario Energy Board (OEB)
developed a CDM Code to govern the utilities’ CDM
activities. The ECO is concerned that the current
CDM framework may discourage co-operation with
other utilities or organizations and is
unnecessarily restricting the role of utilities
and their ability for innovation. The current CDM
framework is set to expire on December 31, 2014.
To ensure momentum is sustained a review and
preparation for the next CDM framework should be
completed before this end date. (Page 31)

Conservation Budget Freeze

On March29, 2011, the OEB announced that the
conservation budgets for Ontario’s natural gas
utilities would be limited to their existing
levels for the next three years. This was a
surprising decision as both utilities and Board
staff supported an increase in conservation
spending. In addition, the Minister of Energy had
also urged the OEB to consider expanding natural
gas conservation efforts. The decisions of both
the government and the OEB to restrict
conservation spending will stall needed growth in
conservation programs. (Page 39)

Smart Grid

Smart grid is the term used to describe the next
generation of the electricity delivery system.
Fundamental to this initiative is a two-way
communication network that will allow consumers
to more effectively manage their electricity use
and also increase the opportunities for demand
response and distributed renewable energy
generation. If the smart grid is to succeed, the
ECO believes that one organization with a
perspective of the electricity system as a whole
should guide all organizations with grid-related
responsibilities to the common goal of
modernizing the smart grid. The ECO also feels
incentives should be provided to undertake
infrastructure investments that reduce
distribution line loss to overcome the higher
cost of efficient infrastructure and ensure that
appropriate long-term system planning occurs. (Page 43)

Barriers to Alternative Energy

Solar thermal systems, which use solar energy
directly rather than convert it into electricity,
are generally more energy efficient and deliver
greater energy and cost savings than solar
photovoltaic (PV)systems. The provincial
government’s cancellation of incentives to
install solar thermal systems for homeowners,
combined with the OPA’s enticing microFIT
program, has created a perverse incentive for
homeowners to install solar PV systems over solar
thermal. The ECO believes both types of
technologies have value and both should be encouraged. (Page 53)


The report makes the following recommendations:

1. The ECO recommends that the Ministry of Energy
clarify how the peak demand and consumption
targets contained in the Long Term Energy Plan
and Conservation and Demand Management Directive are measured.

2. The ECO recommends that the Ministry of Energy
build upon the work completed in the Long-Term
Energy Plan and produce a comprehensive multi-fuel energy plan.

3. The ECO recommends that the Ministries of
Energy, Revenue, and Finance improve the design
of the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit so that any
transitional assistance on electricity bills oes
not act as a disincentive to conservation.

4. The ECO recommends that the Ministry of Energy
initiate the next Conservation and Demand
Management framework, which would include
guaranteed funding, by January 1, 2014.

5. The ECO recommends that the Ministry of Energy
clarify the appropriate roles of the government
and gas utilities in funding natural gas
conservation, with the goal of increasing overall funding.

6. The ECO recommends that the Ontario Energy
Board encourage and facilitate smart grid
investments that reduce line losses, putting
these investments on an equal footing with conservation investments.

7. The ECO recommends that the Ministry of Energy
adjust the relative financial incentives
available for solar thermal and solar
photovoltaic in residential buildings to
appropriately reflect the economic and
environmental benefits of each technology.

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Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: SR-71 Blackbird (starboard profile)
ways to reduce energy demand

Image by Chris Devers
See more photos of this, and the Wikipedia article.

Details, quoting from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird:

No reconnaissance aircraft in history has operated globally in more hostile airspace or with such complete impunity than the SR-71, the world’s fastest jet-propelled aircraft. The Blackbird’s performance and operational achievements placed it at the pinnacle of aviation technology developments during the Cold War.

This Blackbird accrued about 2,800 hours of flight time during 24 years of active service with the U.S. Air Force. On its last flight, March 6, 1990, Lt. Col. Ed Yielding and Lt. Col. Joseph Vida set a speed record by flying from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., in 1 hour, 4 minutes, and 20 seconds, averaging 3,418 kilometers (2,124 miles) per hour. At the flight’s conclusion, they landed at Washington-Dulles International Airport and turned the airplane over to the Smithsonian.

Transferred from the United States Air Force.

Lockheed Aircraft Corporation

Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson


Country of Origin:
United States of America

Overall: 18ft 5 15/16in. x 55ft 7in. x 107ft 5in., 169998.5lb. (5.638m x 16.942m x 32.741m, 77110.8kg)
Other: 18ft 5 15/16in. x 107ft 5in. x 55ft 7in. (5.638m x 32.741m x 16.942m)


Physical Description:
Twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic strategic reconnaissance aircraft; airframe constructed largley of titanium and its alloys; vertical tail fins are constructed of a composite (laminated plastic-type material) to reduce radar cross-section; Pratt and Whitney J58 (JT11D-20B) turbojet engines feature large inlet shock cones.

Long Description:
No reconnaissance aircraft in history has operated in more hostile airspace or with such complete impunity than the SR-71 Blackbird. It is the fastest aircraft propelled by air-breathing engines. The Blackbird’s performance and operational achievements placed it at the pinnacle of aviation technology developments during the Cold War. The airplane was conceived when tensions with communist Eastern Europe reached levels approaching a full-blown crisis in the mid-1950s. U.S. military commanders desperately needed accurate assessments of Soviet worldwide military deployments, particularly near the Iron Curtain. Lockheed Aircraft Corporation’s subsonic U-2 (see NASM collection) reconnaissance aircraft was an able platform but the U. S. Air Force recognized that this relatively slow aircraft was already vulnerable to Soviet interceptors. They also understood that the rapid development of surface-to-air missile systems could put U-2 pilots at grave risk. The danger proved reality when a U-2 was shot down by a surface to air missile over the Soviet Union in 1960.

Lockheed’s first proposal for a new high speed, high altitude, reconnaissance aircraft, to be capable of avoiding interceptors and missiles, centered on a design propelled by liquid hydrogen. This proved to be impracticable because of considerable fuel consumption. Lockheed then reconfigured the design for conventional fuels. This was feasible and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), already flying the Lockheed U-2, issued a production contract for an aircraft designated the A-12. Lockheed’s clandestine ‘Skunk Works’ division (headed by the gifted design engineer Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson) designed the A-12 to cruise at Mach 3.2 and fly well above 18,288 m (60,000 feet). To meet these challenging requirements, Lockheed engineers overcame many daunting technical challenges. Flying more than three times the speed of sound generates 316° C (600° F) temperatures on external aircraft surfaces, which are enough to melt conventional aluminum airframes. The design team chose to make the jet’s external skin of titanium alloy to which shielded the internal aluminum airframe. Two conventional, but very powerful, afterburning turbine engines propelled this remarkable aircraft. These power plants had to operate across a huge speed envelope in flight, from a takeoff speed of 334 kph (207 mph) to more than 3,540 kph (2,200 mph). To prevent supersonic shock waves from moving inside the engine intake causing flameouts, Johnson’s team had to design a complex air intake and bypass system for the engines.

Skunk Works engineers also optimized the A-12 cross-section design to exhibit a low radar profile. Lockheed hoped to achieve this by carefully shaping the airframe to reflect as little transmitted radar energy (radio waves) as possible, and by application of special paint designed to absorb, rather than reflect, those waves. This treatment became one of the first applications of stealth technology, but it never completely met the design goals.

Test pilot Lou Schalk flew the single-seat A-12 on April 24, 1962, after he became airborne accidentally during high-speed taxi trials. The airplane showed great promise but it needed considerable technical refinement before the CIA could fly the first operational sortie on May 31, 1967 – a surveillance flight over North Vietnam. A-12s, flown by CIA pilots, operated as part of the Air Force’s 1129th Special Activities Squadron under the "Oxcart" program. While Lockheed continued to refine the A-12, the U. S. Air Force ordered an interceptor version of the aircraft designated the YF-12A. The Skunk Works, however, proposed a "specific mission" version configured to conduct post-nuclear strike reconnaissance. This system evolved into the USAF’s familiar SR-71.

Lockheed built fifteen A-12s, including a special two-seat trainer version. Two A-12s were modified to carry a special reconnaissance drone, designated D-21. The modified A-12s were redesignated M-21s. These were designed to take off with the D-21 drone, powered by a Marquart ramjet engine mounted on a pylon between the rudders. The M-21 then hauled the drone aloft and launched it at speeds high enough to ignite the drone’s ramjet motor. Lockheed also built three YF-12As but this type never went into production. Two of the YF-12As crashed during testing. Only one survives and is on display at the USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio. The aft section of one of the "written off" YF-12As which was later used along with an SR-71A static test airframe to manufacture the sole SR-71C trainer. One SR-71 was lent to NASA and designated YF-12C. Including the SR-71C and two SR-71B pilot trainers, Lockheed constructed thirty-two Blackbirds. The first SR-71 flew on December 22, 1964. Because of extreme operational costs, military strategists decided that the more capable USAF SR-71s should replace the CIA’s A-12s. These were retired in 1968 after only one year of operational missions, mostly over southeast Asia. The Air Force’s 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (part of the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing) took over the missions, flying the SR-71 beginning in the spring of 1968.

After the Air Force began to operate the SR-71, it acquired the official name Blackbird– for the special black paint that covered the airplane. This paint was formulated to absorb radar signals, to radiate some of the tremendous airframe heat generated by air friction, and to camouflage the aircraft against the dark sky at high altitudes.

Experience gained from the A-12 program convinced the Air Force that flying the SR-71 safely required two crew members, a pilot and a Reconnaissance Systems Officer (RSO). The RSO operated with the wide array of monitoring and defensive systems installed on the airplane. This equipment included a sophisticated Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) system that could jam most acquisition and targeting radar. In addition to an array of advanced, high-resolution cameras, the aircraft could also carry equipment designed to record the strength, frequency, and wavelength of signals emitted by communications and sensor devices such as radar. The SR-71 was designed to fly deep into hostile territory, avoiding interception with its tremendous speed and high altitude. It could operate safely at a maximum speed of Mach 3.3 at an altitude more than sixteen miles, or 25,908 m (85,000 ft), above the earth. The crew had to wear pressure suits similar to those worn by astronauts. These suits were required to protect the crew in the event of sudden cabin pressure loss while at operating altitudes.

To climb and cruise at supersonic speeds, the Blackbird’s Pratt & Whitney J-58 engines were designed to operate continuously in afterburner. While this would appear to dictate high fuel flows, the Blackbird actually achieved its best "gas mileage," in terms of air nautical miles per pound of fuel burned, during the Mach 3+ cruise. A typical Blackbird reconnaissance flight might require several aerial refueling operations from an airborne tanker. Each time the SR-71 refueled, the crew had to descend to the tanker’s altitude, usually about 6,000 m to 9,000 m (20,000 to 30,000 ft), and slow the airplane to subsonic speeds. As velocity decreased, so did frictional heat. This cooling effect caused the aircraft’s skin panels to shrink considerably, and those covering the fuel tanks contracted so much that fuel leaked, forming a distinctive vapor trail as the tanker topped off the Blackbird. As soon as the tanks were filled, the jet’s crew disconnected from the tanker, relit the afterburners, and again climbed to high altitude.

Air Force pilots flew the SR-71 from Kadena AB, Japan, throughout its operational career but other bases hosted Blackbird operations, too. The 9th SRW occasionally deployed from Beale AFB, California, to other locations to carryout operational missions. Cuban missions were flown directly from Beale. The SR-71 did not begin to operate in Europe until 1974, and then only temporarily. In 1982, when the U.S. Air Force based two aircraft at Royal Air Force Base Mildenhall to fly monitoring mission in Eastern Europe.

When the SR-71 became operational, orbiting reconnaissance satellites had already replaced manned aircraft to gather intelligence from sites deep within Soviet territory. Satellites could not cover every geopolitical hotspot so the Blackbird remained a vital tool for global intelligence gathering. On many occasions, pilots and RSOs flying the SR-71 provided information that proved vital in formulating successful U. S. foreign policy. Blackbird crews provided important intelligence about the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and its aftermath, and pre- and post-strike imagery of the 1986 raid conducted by American air forces on Libya. In 1987, Kadena-based SR-71 crews flew a number of missions over the Persian Gulf, revealing Iranian Silkworm missile batteries that threatened commercial shipping and American escort vessels.

As the performance of space-based surveillance systems grew, along with the effectiveness of ground-based air defense networks, the Air Force started to lose enthusiasm for the expensive program and the 9th SRW ceased SR-71 operations in January 1990. Despite protests by military leaders, Congress revived the program in 1995. Continued wrangling over operating budgets, however, soon led to final termination. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration retained two SR-71As and the one SR-71B for high-speed research projects and flew these airplanes until 1999.

On March 6, 1990, the service career of one Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird ended with a record-setting flight. This special airplane bore Air Force serial number 64-17972. Lt. Col. Ed Yeilding and his RSO, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Vida, flew this aircraft from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. in 1 hour, 4 minutes, and 20 seconds, averaging a speed of 3,418 kph (2,124 mph). At the conclusion of the flight, ’972 landed at Dulles International Airport and taxied into the custody of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. At that time, Lt. Col. Vida had logged 1,392.7 hours of flight time in Blackbirds, more than that of any other crewman.

This particular SR-71 was also flown by Tom Alison, a former National Air and Space Museum’s Chief of Collections Management. Flying with Detachment 1 at Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa, Alison logged more than a dozen ’972 operational sorties. The aircraft spent twenty-four years in active Air Force service and accrued a total of 2,801.1 hours of flight time.

Wingspan: 55’7"
Length: 107’5"
Height: 18’6"
Weight: 170,000 Lbs

Reference and Further Reading:

Crickmore, Paul F. Lockheed SR-71: The Secret Missions Exposed. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 1996.

Francillon, Rene J. Lockheed Aircraft Since 1913. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1987.

Johnson, Clarence L. Kelly: More Than My Share of It All. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1985.

Miller, Jay. Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works. Leicester, U.K.: Midland Counties Publishing Ltd., 1995.

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird curatorial file, Aeronautics Division, National Air and Space Museum.

DAD, 11-11-01

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