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By Charles Rhodes, P.Eng., Ph.D.

Electricity is electromagnetic field energy that propagates along guiding conductors at close to the speed of light.

Due to future constraints on use of fossil fuels, electricity must become the primary means of efficient medium distance transmission of energy.

Grid supplied electricity can be divided into two portions, dependable electricity and interruptible electricity.

Dependable electricity is electromagnetic power which is dispatched to meet the consumer controlled load. The dependable power is the sum of the energy flow rates directly controlled by consumers. The main sources of dependable electricity are large hydroelectric generation and nuclear and fossil fuel thermal electric generation. The total available dependable power should be at least 15% greater than the annual peak dependable electricity load.

Interruptible electricity is electromagnetic power which is centrally dispatched to the extent necessary to absorb the instantaneous clean electricity generation capacity surplus to the electricity grid's instantaneous dependable power load. At each consumer premises the use of interruptible power is automatically enabled/disabled in real time by a consumer specific signal from the LDC (Local Distribution Company) or IESO (independent Electricity System Operator). The enable/disable signals are computer generated to fairly share the available interruptible power over all connected interruptible power consumers.

The main sources of interruptible electricity are wind electricity generation, solar electricity generation and unused dependable electricity generation.

Dependable electricity provides the dependable power required by most existing electricity applications, but bears a premium price per monthly dependable power peak kW as well as a low price per marginal kWh consumed.

Interruptible electricity provides clean energy at the same low price per marginal kWh consumed, but interruptible power is not continuously available.

The benefits of proper use of interruptible electricity include:
a) Reduced overall energy system costs;
b) Reduced fossil fuel consumption;
c) Reduced overall CO2 emissions;
d) Better alignment between electricity rates and electricity system costs.

In order to distribute interruptible power it is necessary to divide the electricity loads at each consumer premises into two categories, loads which require dependable electricity and loads for which interruptible electricity is sufficient. Appliances that use interruptible power, such as hybrid heating systems, generally need an alternate energy source such as a stored liquid fuel in order to operate during periods when interruptible power is not available at a particular consumer premises.

The apparatus that measures the consumer's monthly dependable power peak demand in kW actually senses total power but ignores input data during periods when the real time signal from the LDC or IESO indicates that the consumer can draw interruptible power.

Applications of low cost interruptible power include:
a) Displacement of combustion fuels in heating systems;
b) Charging of battery electric vehicles;
c) Charging of thermal energy storage systems;
d) Production of green hydrogen by electrolysis of water.

This website section examines practical aspects of the public electricity system including:
electricity: generation, storage, transmission, distribution, measurement, control, dependability and rates.

An overview of Ontario Electricity System related environmental matters is contained in a 2018 report titled Making Connections by the then Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Ms. Diane Saxe.

This website section includes energy distribution via buried district heating piping systems.

This website section also includes synthetic liquid fuel synthesis for energy storage and energy transmission via fluid hydrocarbons moving through pipe lines.

The basic of electric power is a watt (W) where:
1 W = 1 joule / second = 1 J / s

The basic unit of electric energy is a watt-second where:
1 W-s = 1 J

In the case of electrical energy a joule is a unit of directed kinetic energy where:
1 J = 1 kg m^2 / s^2
If this directed kinetic/electrical energy is dissipated as heat it becomes 1 J of thermal energy.

Most electricity billings are expressed in kW and kWh where:
1 kW = 1000 W
1 kWh = 1000 W X 3600 s = 3.6 X 10^6 J

The outputs of large electricity generators are usually expressed in MW and MWh where:
1 MW = 1000 kW
1 MWh = 1000 kWh

The outputs of large electricity systems are usually expresed in GW or GWh where:
1 GW = 1000 MW
1 GWh = 1000 MWh

In situations where there might be confusion between units of electric power or electric energy and units of thermal power or thermal energy the subscript e is used to indicate an electrical unit and the subscript t is used to indicate a thermal unit.

There are many electricity related web pages, so please scroll down.

1. Electricity Introduction
2. Electricity Dependability
3. Ontario Electricity System
4. Electricity System Expansion
5. Displacement of Fossil Fuels
6. Electricity Regulatory Bodies
7. Conference Short Presentation (20 minute)
8. Conference Short Presentation Slides
1. Electricity Generation
2. Synchronous and Asynchronous Electricity Generation
3. Electricity Generation Constraints
4. Environmental Considerations
5. Distributed Electricity Generation
6. Wind Energy
7. Equipment Financing
8. OPA Feed-in Tariff
9. Generation Valuation, Grid Stability and Black Start
1. Energy Storage
2. Seasonal Hydraulic Energy Storage
3. Liquid Metal Electro-Chemical Energy Storage
4. Electrolytic Hydrogen
5. Synthetic Liquid Hydrocarbons
6. Synthetic Liquid Fuel
7. Nitrogen Fertilizers
1. Electricity Transmission
2. Electricity Transmission Black Start
3. Energy Transmission Planning
4. Distribution and Distributed Generation
5. District Heating
6. Pipeline Basics
7. Pipeline Corrosion
8. Letter To Premier Wynne
9. Electrically Accelerated Pipeline Corrosion
10. Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Setback
1. Existing Electricity Rate Problems
2. Electricity Rate Issues
3. Electricity Services
4. Retail Electricity Rates
5. InterruptibleElectricity.com
6. Interruptible Electricity
7. Interruptible Electricity History
8. Interruptible Electricity Opportunity
9. Interruptible Electricity Service (IES) Implementation
10. Interim IES Implementation
11. Electricity Regulatory Hurdles
12. Electricity Market Problems
13. Historical Electricity Rates and Introduction of Smart Meters
14. Variable Electricity Rate
15. Transmission/Distribution Cost Apportioning
16. Capacity Factor
17. Electricity Rate Derivation
18. Electricity Rate Structure
1. Electricity Metering
2. Electricity Power Transducer
3. Electricity-Three Phase Metering
4. Electricity Meter Program
1. Smart Grid
2. OPA Integrated Power System Plan (IPSP)
3. Energy Vision
4. Letter to Ontario Minister of Environment
and Climate Change
5. Letter to Mininster of Environment
and Climate Change, Canada
6. U of T 17-02-09 Slide Presentation
7. U of T Presentation
8. Energy Policy

This web page last updated March 15, 2022.

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