Overview

In April 2022, Ontario’s Minister of Energy announced the establishment of an Electrification and Energy Transition Panel, chaired by David Collie who is the former Chair/CEO of the Electrical Safety Authority. On November 17, 2022, the appointment of the other members of the Panel was announced. The appointees are Dr. Monica Gattinger, Director of the Institute for Science, Society and Policy, and Chief Emeritus Emily Whetung, former Chief of Curve Lake First Nation. Additionally, Howard Wetston (former Senator and judge and Ontario Energy Board Chair/CEO) was named as an advisor.

The Electrification and Energy Transition Panel is charged with advising the Ontario government about “the highest value short, medium, and long-term opportunities for the energy sector to help Ontario’s economy prepare for electrification and the energy transition.” In the Minister of Energy’s April 22, 2022 letter to stakeholders about the establishment of the Panel (found here), it was noted that the Panel will provide “essential advice and expertise on how to co-ordinate long-term energy planning, considering growing energy demand, emerging technologies, low-carbon fuel switching, sustainability and affordability.” The Panel is also directed to “identify opportunities to strengthen Ontario’s long-term energy planning process by better coordinating the fuels and the electricity sector.”

The Panel’s work will be complemented and supported by a Ministry of Energy sponsored “independent Cost-Effective Energy Pathways Study to help better understand how Ontario’s energy sector can best support electrification and the energy transition.” The tender document for the Cost-Effective Energy Pathways Study For Ontario indicates that:

The Study will take an integrated approach of Ontario’s economy and trajectory of growth across different sectors to optimize, from an economic, environment, and cost perspective, technological options to prepare the transition to a decarbonized energy system, and will examine their associated costs and benefits. The Study will analyze different cost-effective pathways for plausible and useful scenarios representing key uncertainties that Ontario’s energy sector should be prepared for.

The original appointment of the Panel was anticipated to run for one year from April 1, 2022. However, it is not clear whether the Panel’s work can be done by then. Although no indication of updated timing for the Electrification and Energy Transition Panel’s work has been announced, the expectation is that the main work for the Pathways Study will not be complete until September 2023 (there may be interim reporting before then). It can be expected that the Panel will undertake its work in parallel with the Pathways Study, including gathering information, consulting stakeholders and developing options and recommendations.