Transportation and transit fleets play a key role in moving people and goods across the Toronto Region and with the explosion of e-commerce during COVID-19, this fact is even more apparent. Electrifying these vehicles to reduce their carbon footprint is essential for how our Region will continue to move and grow. Leading by example, Ontario Power Generation, the TTC and Toronto Hydro recently announced how they will work together to power the TTC’s electric transformation.
Watch our expert panel share insights from their successful partnership to work towards a net-zero future and answer your questions about how other transit agencies and fleet operators can follow suit.
Jan De Silva: [00:02:00] Hello everyone. I'm Jan De Silva, president and CEO of Toronto Region Border of Trade. Welcome to today's event about electrifying vehicle fleets and specifically the [00:02:30] progress made by Ontario Power Generation, Toronto Hydro, and the Toronto Transit Commission to do so with TTC buses. Before I talk about that partnership, I'd like to begin by acknowledging that Toronto is home to diverse first nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. Though you could be watching from anywhere, the board's offices are located on the traditional territory of many indigenous nations and reconciliation plays an important role in conversations [00:03:00] we have about our energy and climate future. A few other opening notes. Today's broadcast is sponsored by OPG and all board webcasts are supported by our principal sponsors, The Globe And Mail and Scotiabank. A recording of today's event will be available at supportbusiness.bot.com under webinars and videos. And select click here to switch stream if your video is lagging or request help for any other technical issues.
[00:03:30] With that, I'm glad to kick this discussion off. Last month, Prime Minister Trudeau raised Canada's emission reduction target to as much as 45% within the next decade. This is a truly ambitious goal. And one that will help manage the effects of climate change. Meeting it will require smart, strategic, private public partnerships, and that's why the board was pleased to see the federal government's announcements last month [00:04:00] committing to investments in electric transit infrastructure. In association with municipalities and the province these latest commitments will be the single biggest investment in transit infrastructure in Canadian history. But reaching our emission targets will take more than this single investment as work historic as it is. It will take all of us to work together and make changes.
That's exactly what our first three speakers have done. The transportation sector, [00:04:30] which is estimated to generate up to a quarter of the country's carbon emissions is primed to be transformed by plugging into a clean energy source. Today OPG, TTC and Toronto Hydro have announced North America's largest transit electrification project to date. I'll let each speak to their specific project components, but this partnership represents a big step in transforming the sector to be GHG free [00:05:00] and getting Canada to net zero. This transformation, which begins with buses will eventually also include delivery vehicles, school buses, and more. And after, we'll be joined by a panel to talk about how businesses and not for profits across all sectors can support these efforts to get more vehicles plugged in. But now I'm so glad to introduce the president and CEO of OPG the first of the three major partners [00:05:30] in this important project, Ken Hartwick. Over to you, Ken.
Ken Hartwick: Thanks, Jan. And really appreciate the invitation to come along and talk to Toronto Region Board of Trade about this topic along with my colleagues from the TTC and Toronto Hydro. And I think it's really, really exciting because it's not often that organizations get to be part of being a clear leader in something. So as we look [00:06:00] towards this partnership with TTC and Toronto Hydro and the leadership they're providing in the context of the City of Toronto, but I think we all have to put that into perspective that it goes much broader than that, because I think the leadership that this group will provide, that TTC provides in taking this first big step and decarbonizing the bus fleet is going to be a clear pattern for others to follow and benefit from.
So, there's always risk in being the first one to make a big move. And [00:06:30] so it's, sometimes it's easier to be second or third or fourth, but I really want to commend TTC for deciding to lead this, which I think is important. When you get to OPG specifically, we were sort of attracted to partner with the TTC and Toronto Hydro for a couple of reasons. Obviously we're in the power sector in Ontario to help build out some of the infrastructure, the charging infrastructure that will accommodate the goal at hand here, I think [00:07:00] was something that we felt that we could be a good partner along with our two colleagues and that really drew us to this.
And the second part was really, it's very consistent with our climate plan. We put a climate plan out back at the end of last year that set goals to be net carbon free by 40, and to help the province achieve it by 50. And to me, this is just a real, real great example of how that can be done. And it's not [00:07:30] being done by OPG. This is most things I think in this sector, the way we are going to do them will be done by great partnerships. So we're really excited it to be part of this, to be part of helping to do our small role in leading, along with TTC and Toronto Hydro, and to see if we can develop a template that others can take and use elsewhere. And if we speed Ontario along or elsewhere in Canada along then, I think that's something that really will benefit all of us [00:08:00] in the years to come. So this is exciting. We're very excited to be part of it and very excited to have the partners that we do as we move forward on this effort.
Jan De Silva: Thanks, Ken. I know it's very exciting to think about how transformative and transferable this can be. And so no apologies for going first, and if a mistake or two happens along the way, that's fine, we can all learn from that and move on. But I don't think any mistakes will happen with the partners that you've brought to the table. [00:08:30] Now, let's hear from the agency who will use these newly built electric buses and charging stations, the TTC and CEO, Rick Leary. Rick, over to you.
Rick Leary: Hi Jan. Hi everyone. Thank you very much for having me here today. You know, I tell you, it's actually an honour to be here with everybody, and it's good to see Elias and Ken, and they were at the TTC board meeting back in April, and we had another milestone achievement. So things are going real well. I would like to say thank you to all of you for attending this virtual seminar today, and especially thank you to the [00:09:00] Toronto Region Board of Trade for hosting and allowing us to present this real ambitious collaboration to all of you. I'm also, as I said, I'm pleased to be here with our colleagues, from my Toronto Hydro ad OPG to speak about our role in helping to create a greener more sustainable future for transit, as well as the entire Greater Toronto area.
I often tell people that the bus network really is the backbone of our transit system. Many of our customers are so dependent on buses, more in this mode than ever [00:09:30] where especially now it's never been more apparent than today during a pandemic. So when we look how the TTC could reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality and build a greener fleet, we wanted to make sure that we did it right for our customers. We really have customers at the front of everything we do. Back in June 2019, we put our first battery electric bus on the road in Toronto on our 35 Jane route. And today we have 60 e-buses in service from three different manufacturers operating [00:10:00] on the street of Toronto. And I'm really proud to say that we have the largest zero emissions battery electric bus fleet in all of North America. We're very proud of that and we're not slowing down is what I would tell people.
By 2025, we expect to have approximately 300 more long range battery electric buses on our fleet and the electrification infrastructure to go along with them. I can see progress really starting to continue. So we also know that we can't accomplish this ambitious plan for a fully electric [00:10:30] fleet by 2040, doing it on our own. The green fleet program for the TTC, will continue and will need a reliable electricity supply as well as a charging infrastructure, both at our bus garages and at certain stations along the routes.
And with that, we're having Toronto Hydro and OPG on board, I can confidently say that we're well on our way towards modernizing our service, innovating for the long term and really mitigating against climate change exactly [00:11:00] what we told our board that we intended to do back in November 2017 when we presented this strategy to them. So it's amazing that the organization with the help of others, it really takes a village right to come along. So I do look forward to partnering with both of these organizations and many others as we transform our culture, as well as our fleet here at the TTC. And now thank you for the opportunity to speak today. I look forward to seeing the rest of the seminar. Thank you.
Jan De Silva: Thanks so much, Rick. And it's exciting to reflect [00:11:30] on the fact it was only 2017 when this ambitious program was put forward and look at where we are today and the incredible partnership. I don't know how many of our members or others in the city are aware that we're leading North America in terms of the size of our e-bus fleet, but congratulations, and really looking forward to hearing from our next speaker, because we can only electrify more vehicles if the grid is prepared to handle them. And that's where Toronto Hydro comes in. With us today is their executive [00:12:00] vice president of planning, as well as chief of engineering and modernization officer, Elias Lyberoginnis... giannis, sorry, Elias.
Elias Lyberogia...: That's okay.
Jan De Silva: Elias, welcome. And the microphone is yours. I have De Silva as a last name, so believe me, I know some of your pain. Over to you.
Elias Lyberogia...: Well, thank you, Jan, and good afternoon, everyone. And on behalf of Toronto Hydro and Anthony Haynes, our president and CEO, I'm quite happy to be here today. And with Ken, Rick and the expert panel that will follow shortly, I'm delighted to [00:12:30] be sharing what is being accomplished in this space of electrifying to transportation in the city. I'd like to welcome and thank each and every one of you of course, too, before I begin. I'd like to also thank our distinguished elected officials, some of whom are here with us today, for taking time out of your busy schedules to join us. As you heard from Ken and from Rick, we are quite excited about this partnership and moving forward through the vision that we see.
Now for Toronto Hydro, as the city of Toronto's electricity distribution company, [00:13:00] our priority remains delivering safe and reliable electricity to where it's needed. And with our customers embracing sustainable practices, more and more, the need for electricity has never been greater. Given this context, Toronto Hydro has been investing billions of dollars to renew and expand our electricity distribution system, a system that delivers a clean and reliable source of energy to homes and businesses across our city. What we have also been doing is working with our customers. Customers like TTC to help [00:13:30] them and all of us achieve our climate action objectives and build the green city. Although Toronto Hydro is not an electric vehicle charging company, we believe that EVs are the future of transportation in Toronto.
Through many actions, we have been enabling, nurturing and moving towards that future. Our topic today is a great example of that. We are very proud of our work with TTC in recent years, and specifically the vehicle charging infrastructure that has been built at three of TTC's garages. Rick spoke [00:14:00] a little bit about some of those, some of that infrastructure and the buses that are on the road today. Now we are excited about this partnership, and we're quite excited about offering Toronto Hydro's knowledge and expertise to it and helping to deliver on TTC's leading edge green infrastructure investment. In short Toronto Hydro is eager to do our part. We are eager to support the electrification of transportation. And with that, thank you for your attention this afternoon. And Jan I'll now pass it back to you.
Jan De Silva: [00:14:30] Thanks Elias. And thank you all for setting time aside to talk about why and how you came to the table on this issue. I mean, for Toronto Hydro, one of the biggest challenges we have as we try to move forward on electric vehicles is that charging infrastructure. So it's great to hear about your seat at the table and solving for this. Now, we're going to hear about the practical next steps, which will be especially relevant if you're watching, because you're considering electrifying your own fleet of vehicles, or if you want to learn more about how this project will roll [00:15:00] out. To tell us more, each organization has put forward a representative, including the TTC's head of vehicle programs Bem Case, OGP's director of business development Keegan Tully, and Toronto Hydro's manager of business development Joe Bile. Following their short presentation we'll have a panel discussion around this project and other enablers of a cleaner future. Welcome everyone. Bem, let's start with you.
Bem Case: Thank you, Jan. And, and hello everyone. Next slide please. [00:15:30] OPG and Toronto Hydro, the TTC have all important roles to play empowering the future of transit and Canada's largest city and North America's third largest transit system. As Rick Kleary mentioned, TTC has a very ambitious plan to transition to completely zero emissions fleet by 2040. This is something we cannot accomplish without our electrification partners. This presentation will lay out a roadmap for TTC's green fleet program, outline the strategic partnership between TTC, OPG and Toronto Hydro, and describe how this capital [00:16:00] asset delivery model can be applied to other trans agencies and commercial fleet owners. Next, please.
I want to take you back to 2017 when the TTC made its first significant move on its plan to green its fleet, targeting as I mentioned, a completely zero emissions fleet by 2040 in line with the city of Toronto's climate action plan. If you have a look at this slide, you'll notice that the first vehicles we ordered were clean diesel buses. So before we even began transitioning towards low [00:16:30] or zero emissions propulsion technology, we were already working to reduce our emission, in this case by 25%. The next step was to introduce the latest hybrid electric bus trend technology, which reduced emissions by 47% and served as a reliable transition technology for our 60 all electric buses, which is currently, as Rick mentioned, the largest zero emissions fleet in North America.
Next. On this slide you'll notice that electrification infrastructure is something that must [00:17:00] be delivered on time and perform reliably in order to ensure successful greening of the fleet. My colleagues, Joe, and Keegan from Toronto Hydro and OPG will get further into this in a moment. The transition towards a zero emissions fleet requires recognition that change is transformational and scale and in nature, and so we are looking to innovate and modernize our business practices to leverage this new technology to the fullest and ultimately to improve how we deliver our service. In non COVID times, we transport [00:17:30] 1.7 million people on the TTC each and every day. Bus is an always has been most popular mode of transit. We need over 1,600 new eco-friendly buses to maintain our fleet and to support the city's growing population through to 2030.
Once fully zero emissions, we'll be removing 200,000 metric tons of GHG or greenhouse gas emissions annually. As you may already know, our 60 buses are supplied by three different manufacturers. We've [00:18:00] been evaluating different aspects of these vehicles in real time and we have been engaging our customers, operators and maintenance staff in a comprehensive head to head evaluation to inform our next phase of adoption. You'll notice from the chart that in 2023, we plan to take delivery of 100 additional e-buses. And assuming that all the stars stay aligned, we'll only be procuring zero emissions vehicles starting in 2024. Next, please.
To give you a sense of the bigger picture, I'm going to briefly walk through [00:18:30] a timeline of next steps. As I mentioned, we are currently testing all three e-bus types to inform our next procurement. While testing we are also working on a contract award for approximately 300 buses that is targeted for Q4 of this year, with production lead time of approximately one year and a half. The first new e-buses would start arriving in Q3 of 2023 and continue through 2025. Next, please.
To enable [00:19:00] this transition charging infrastructure must be delivered ahead of bus procurements, but on a much larger scale than what we've achieved so far. Next, please. TTC's role in arrangement is to define high level scope timing and to secure funding, coordinate among stakeholders internally, and to provide oversight to design procurement to construction and operational performance. I would like to draw your attention to one of the most significant benefits of this delivery model. [00:19:30] As the TTC is not responsible for designing, delivering, owning, or maintaining electrification assets, our operations can stay focused on our core business of delivering safe and reliable service to our customers. The alignment of purpose and approach between transit agency and utilities has in our experience already proven invaluable to delivering functional electrification infrastructure on time and on budget. And the opportunity to engage OPG as a co-investor and owner throughout the asset lifecycle [00:20:00] is unique to this application and again, allows us to focus on delivering service to our customers.
Joe Bile: Thanks very much BeM and Jan, and good morning, good afternoon to everyone on the call out there. At its simplest Toronto Hydro's ultimate goal is the safe reliable supply of electricity to TTC and in support of the electrification bus project. If you could advance the slide, please. So let me tell you a little bit about the project. We actually had an early role [00:20:30] in the electrification pilot back as early as 2018 to help TTC get things rolling. We undertook construction responsibilities in front... Well behind the meter. We normally take advantage of work... Sorry, let me start again. This particular project involved work behind the meter. Our normal area of concentration is in front of the meter. And in this particular project, we installed 36 [00:21:00] chargers, 60 dispensers to serve the 60 pilot buses that were working out of the three TTC garages.
Later, Toronto Hydro also constructed three different sets of battery energy storage systems at those same three garages. Like the chargers, this work was carried out behind the customer meter, whereas we typically do work in ahead of the meter. The images you see on the screen were taken at the Mount Dennis facility. The top [00:21:30] one shows the actual chargers that were installed at that site. And the image at the bottom shows you the pad mounted battery energy storage systems. Each one of the systems that was installed at each of the garages is a nominal one megawatt and four megawatt hour capacity. The function of the battery storage system is to provide backup power and also to help shift some of the charging duty to help manage the utility costs. Next slide, please.
[00:22:00] Although the TTC project is a first as the electrical utility for Canada's largest city, Toronto Hydro has many distributed electrical resources right across the city. As shown on this slide, we have over 2200 mostly renewable generation sites, but also others, including some large battery storage sites as well. All this is by way of saying that Toronto Hydro is well positioned [00:22:30] to... and to accommodate more of these kinds of projects moving forward. And we really look forward to helping this city move ahead with its electrification goals and congratulations to TTC on this ambitious project. And on that note, I'm going to be passing things over to Keegan.
Keegan Tully: Thank you, Joe, for that. And OPG's role in the project is really in this middle box here, to [00:23:00] take delivery of electricity from Toronto Hydro and to feed that into TTC's buses. So we'll design, build, operate, and maintain all of the infrastructure from grid to charger. This includes what we would call a microgrid. So battery, stationary battery storage, backup power generation, and solar PV. This is infrastructure that can really increase the resiliency and help optimize the costs [00:23:30] for TTC in this electrification program. Next slide please.
And as Bem was saying, this is quite a large and complex undertaking. TTC's an essential service and they really need this electricity infrastructure to work all the time so that they can get their buses out on the road. And so we're designing this microgrid system to [00:24:00] operate and provide a very high reliability for the TTC, so that even if there's an outage at the grid level, we can still charge buses and get them out to serve the people of Toronto. So OPG has a lot of experience managing complex electrical infrastructure projects. And what we'll be doing here is really aiming to reduce costs, reduce risk, and increase reliability of the infrastructure for TTC. And as Bem was mentioning [00:24:30] as well, we really think this can allow TTC to focus on integrating these new types of vehicles into their fleet while we focus on the infrastructure. So, let both parties manage these both equally complex aspects of the program so that we can deliver successfully. Next slide please.
And we think there's really three main key benefits that OPG is bringing to the program. [00:25:00] So I talked about the microgrid and some of the assets that are available. There're times when to TTC will need the battery storage and the backup power generation, and there're other times when they'll be sitting idle. And so OPG will leverage those assets and use them to support the electricity system at large and earn revenue so that we can co-invest in the assets with TTC and reduce the overall cost of the program.
We'll also be conducting [00:25:30] a very large procurement program around this. OPG is a very large buyer of electrical infrastructure, so we'll be working with TTC to really streamline the procurement process, buy electrical equipment in bulk, and create predictability for our vendors so that we can at the best prices and stable procurement for the program over the long term. And finally, what OPG does at its core is manage electrical [00:26:00] projects, large electricity projects. And so we're bringing that skillset here to really support TTC, help them deliver safe infrastructure on time, on budget, to the benefit of the program. Next slide, please.
And we're really excited. I think Ken talked about the leadership and the hope that other fleets will [00:26:30] follow. And we really think this is a leading program combined with some of OPG's other initiatives like the IV charging network and our projects electrifying ferries in Eastern Ontario. We really hope to leverage off this and start working with other fleets, other transit agencies, commercial fleets. And as people look to electrify, we're hoping to leverage the experience that we're gaining here with Toronto Hydro and TTC to really build a large [00:27:00] fleet electrification in program in Ontario and in Canada, and leverage that clean electricity we have to really make an impact on climate change and lead in this space. So thank you very much.
Speaker 2: Thanks. Thanks guys. I've got a number of questions coming in from the audience, so let me just jump right in there. And Keegan, let me maybe start with you on this. Is it true that there is currently nowhere near enough electricity available [00:27:30] in our grid, [inaudible 00:27:32] large, if all cars were to be switched to electric in the province?
Keegan Tully: I don't think that that's accurate. The reality is we're not going to electrify every vehicle overnight. It's going to take time, TTC's got a very ambitious program, but they won't complete electrification until 2040. And so from a generation perspective, there's a lot of generation and there's time to plan [00:28:00] out the system to deliver that electricity. And so I don't think that it's a huge barrier. This is what we do as an industry with us, Toronto Hydro, and others, we plan for the future and we can be ready to meet that demand. And I don't know if Joe would want to add anything to Toronto Hydro's, sort of ability to deliver.
Joe Bile: Sure, Keegan, thanks. Perhaps I can jump in Jan. This is what we do [00:28:30] day in day out. Our job is to make sure that there are electrons ready to flow when customers need it. You don't have to look much further than just casting your eyes across Toronto's skyline and counting all the construction cranes that you see. This is work that we do day in day out is we provide electricity for the mountain of new connections that come at us all the time. So this really is a normal day for us. And part of that normal job for us is [00:29:00] really to do the forecasting work that needs to be done. And we have people whose job it is to do that type of work, keeping an eye on trends, keeping an eye on electrification requirements like electric vehicles as well. And our job is to make sure that it will be there when it's needed.
Jan De Silva: That's great. Bem, question for you. What is TTC hearing from other transit agencies? Where are they with planning to electrify their fleets? And let's [00:29:30] look both within the context of Canada and elsewhere.
Bem Case: So transit agencies across the world are looking to electrify their fleets. There are a number of different options that people are considering, and we stay open to different options as well, including hydrogen fuel cell electric, for example, for the longest routes. But the vast majority of agencies in Asia, Europe, South America and throughout North America are looking at battery electric, long range [00:30:00] battery electric buses, as the obvious first step, at least, if not the ultimate solution for electrification. So there are large transit agencies in Asia and in Europe that have hundreds or even thousands of battery electric buses in service and their experience we're leveraging, and also gives us confidence that we're heading in the right direction. As I say, in North America, we've got the largest, but [00:30:30] there are agencies also in North America that have five more years experiences than us, even though with a smaller fleet. And so, again, we're working very closely together just as we are with our utilities here, we work very closely with transit agencies across North America and the world in fact, to leverage lessons learned.
Jan De Silva: Okay. And you touched on this Bem, so we'll continue with it. A second question from the audience was how does hydrogen powered energy figure into your plans?
Bem Case: Yeah. So right now, [00:31:00] the buses that we have on property can serve about 40% of the routes that we run every day. We know that our next procurement that has buses coming in 2023 through 2025 is likely to achieve about 60 to 70% of our routes. So the technology is maturing and we think that by the time, as Keegan had mentioned, the demand for the longest range [00:31:30] buses or that amount of energy is required in 2030 and in 2040, that the battery electric bus will probably be there. But it's possible that it doesn't continue to increase in maturity at the rate that it has been previously, and that for the longest runs, we need an alternate solution. That's on route charging of battery electric buses and or hydrogen fuel cell electric buses. So hydrogen fuel cell electric buses, if we can get clean hydrogen delivered to [00:32:00] our sites is a real viable solution for our longest routes.
Jan De Silva: Okay. Let's continue with looking forward. Joe, question for you. Toronto Hydro has made significant strides in preparing the grid for greater electrification. What have you learned from this partnership that will help the organization continue preparing for increased electrification in the years ahead?
Joe Bile: I think in responding to that question, I'd probably [00:32:30] categorize the areas in three buckets, perhaps. I think first of all, we've made great strides in learning more about the customer and providing customer insights. I mean, TTC and this... It's a very sophisticated customer. It's a very sophisticated project. So these were really our first opportunities to learn more about this type of engagement model. In addition, and I think [00:33:00] Keegan mentioned it before, this is a complicated set of technology and bringing this kind of technology to customers, to the city as part of a partnership does provide a lot of valuable construction experience for us.
I mean, there's project management understandings that we've gained. These are projects that are delivered through multiple parties, so there's a lot of coordination and understanding things like warranties for example. [00:33:30] How do we all work together to deliver these things? So there's a lot of operational complexity as well, and learning to handle those is a huge value to us. And I think that finally, it's understanding how we control and operate these devices. It's one thing to build them. It's quite another thing to then understand what we need to know in order to operate them. Obviously, OPG is going to be looking at it from an inwardly focused perspective. We have to look at [00:34:00] it from a grid distribution perspective and this project really has helped us to provide understanding at those levels.
Jan De Silva: OK. Keegan, alongside this project, OPG is working with other organizations interested in electrifying their fleet. In fact, I know we were talking at the top about the potential for other modes of cargo movement going in this direction. You think about Amazon, Canada Post, Surge, or you think about Rogers with their service fleets. [00:34:30] So who are some of the early movers in this space? And what's motivating them right now? I guess the underlying point of that is how quickly are we likely to flip a switch so to speak and see more and more of our vehicles in the city and in the region moving electric?
Keegan Tully: Yeah, I think there's sort of three key factors in my mind that leads people to be early movers. So the first one would be, you have to have a motivated fleet operator. [00:35:00] So somebody like TTC and the City of Toronto that has ambitious climate goals and is really eager to move. So I think that's a key one. And then their fleet needs to have a really heavy duty cycle. So, TTC buses are driving all the time and they're driving lots of distance. And that's really important to make the economics work around... To maximize the GHG benefits and to make [00:35:30] the economics work the best you need a fleet that's driving a lot.
And then finally, I think it's vehicle availability. So are electric vehicles available that meet the needs of how your fleet operates? So, is the right vehicle available in Canada now that you can use? And so when you see those three factors come together, that's the people that are moving fastest. And I think transit is the area that [00:36:00] I see moving fastest right now. So TTC is a leader in this space. You have municipalities that have ambitious climate change goals like Toronto, moving here. You have heavy duty cycle, city traffic, stop and go, and you have the vehicles as TTC has proven.
And I think the next place, you really alluded to it in the question, I think urban delivery is a natural place. We've seen a lot of announcements [00:36:30] from Ford around their E-Transit. GM and their facility in Ontario with the BrightDrop . So I think that's probably one of the next areas that we're going to see a lot more movement. Telecom you alluded to as well, and cable that's probably another large fleet that we'll see activity on very soon.
Jan De Silva: Yep. If I could just continue, so is this... Are we five years away from that being more [00:37:00] main street, so to speak, or is it a shorter or longer horizon? What would your bet be?
Keegan Tully: Yeah, I think to get that deep penetration where it's really meaningful, you're probably in that more in that three to five year range. But I think you're going to start seeing people take smaller, initial moves sooner than that and really, really get into it in that three to five year time frame.
Jan De Silva: Okay. [00:37:30] Next question. And I'm not sure who would like to take this it's a comment, or can we get some comments on how Ontario's hydro rates will impact vehicle electrification in Ontario? Any thoughts on that? Or do we want to delay... Shift that maybe to Queens Park for discussion? Any thoughts?
Keegan Tully: I mean, I can start us off and I'm sure Joe will have some thoughts too. I think the first thing to a remember [00:38:00] overall as an EV is way more efficient to operate than an internal combustion engine. And so whatever you think about our hydro rates in Ontario, you're starting from a point where you can save drastically on your operating costs of a vehicle by going electric, because it's just way be more efficient. And so that's a good thing. The other aspect is for example, TTC's fleet, the buses are not being [00:38:30] used as much overnight. And so it's actually a very complimentary demand to the rest of the electricity demand in the system. Electricity demand starts to rise in the morning and then peaks in the early evening.
And the cost of the electricity system are largely driven by meeting that peak demand, whether it's the generation system, the wires that deliver electricity. It's all driven by meeting peak demand. And so having electric [00:39:00] vehicles that charge overnight can be very complimentary when the system is underutilized and actually can lead to a mitigation of costs or spreading fixed costs of the system out over more consumption. So it can actually be a benefit overall to using this sort of spare capacity in the system that exists. So, I think it's manageable because EVs are so efficient and it can actually help the situation in the long term.
Jan De Silva: [00:39:30] Okay, Joe, I don't know, before... Looks like our audience really wants to do into this because another question has come in related to this, which is about various utilities across California and B.C. are developing electricity rate structures for commercial EV fleets. And so the question is, are OPG and Toronto Hydro, or Toronto Hydro, working with the Ontario Energy Board to explore the implementation of special electricity rate structures for EV fleets here in Ontario? So Keegan, you're [00:40:00] off the hook for this. This is over to Joe.
Joe Bile: Wow, that's a good question. I think that it is within the area that we observe. It is something that's increasingly part of our conversation simply because EV numbers are growing and are anticipated to grow over time. So I'm not quite sure how to answer that because [00:40:30] it's a very big question other than to say that it is an area that we're aware of. And I do agree that it will become increasingly important as more and more people have electric vehicles. I think the conversation to Keegan's point does get interesting when you start looking at options available with regards to when charging happens. And I think those are dynamics that are going to play out in the coming years.
Jan De Silva: [00:41:00] Yeah. Okay. Bem-
Keegan Tully: I would just-
Jan De Silva: ... Oh, sorry. Go ahead. Keegan.
Keegan Tully: ... I was just going to add to what Joe was saying. I think an important aspect of our role in the TTC project is to help, so we're not creating special rates, but within the rules that exist helping to optimize costs for TTC and minimize that cost. Because there are things you can do to manage electricity costs in Ontario. And that's a key part [00:41:30] of OPG's role in the project.
Jan De Silva: Well, and I think what a part of the magic of the pilot or the program that you're putting in place is it really gives us a use case to really dig into and think about what are the levers that we could be pulling to help make this work and make it more widely deployable. Bem, next question's back to you. So the TTC has some natural gas buses on the road. Will that program continue or does electrification take its place?
Bem Case: We don't have any natural gas buses on the road, actually. We [00:42:00] haven't for some time. So yes, electrification is our immediate future.
Jan De Silva: Okay. Let me just go back one second. I just need to pick up this other question here.
Bem Case: Just while you do that, I'll just mention that on the question of preferred hydro rates for transit, there are a number of associations, including CUTRIC, the OPTA, [00:42:30] the Ontario Public Transit Association and others that are looking to unify messaging around what it is that government could do at the municipal, provincial and federal levels to advance adoption of zero emissions buses. And some of that messaging is likely to include over the next coming weeks and months, an appeal for just that, for some preferred rates. So [00:43:00] it is something that we're identifying as among best practice from other agencies around the world who are further ahead than us.
Jan De Silva: Okay. Question for all three of you, what are the talent implications of this? Where are there new skills required? Where's the high demand going to be as we move to electrification of fleets? Just for folks who may be listening in the audience who have either [00:43:30] kids about to go to university or coming through right now, where's the demand curve for talent in this space right now?
Bem Case: I'll start, I guess, what TTC's done really is shifted responsibility of electrification largely to Toronto Hydro and OPG. And so we do need some talent, obviously in being able to manage the performance of the infrastructure. We also are taking the vehicles on ourselves. We do maintenance [00:44:00] on these vehicles ourselves. We have specialized training for operators. We don't think that the training for operators and maintainers is as significant as you might think because we've had hybrid electric vehicles in our fleet for some time. And we've adopted the latest technology, as I mentioned previously in the presentation. We're already used to diagnosing faults for example and performing maintenance on high voltage [00:44:30] systems on a bus. And so it's that transition technology means that we've kind of smoothed the learning curve for existing workforce. But there is certainly a niche for those specialized skills in engineering and project delivery for implementing infrastructure like this during a 24/7 operations, and reducing any impact to that operations.
Jan De Silva: Okay. Keegan, [00:45:00] Joe, your thoughts?
Joe Bile: Well, maybe I can jump in here, Jan. What I was actually, initially I was thinking, boy, which part of engineering would I emphasize in my answer? And then I had to stop myself because I think that is the first level answer is that when you look at a project like this, what comes to the forefront is the tremendous amount of engineering that goes into a project like this, not only in the [00:45:30] conceptual, in the design, in the construction and then in the after management and operational control. So I think that what this is, is really a fantastic advocacy example for the STEMs, STEM type work, science, engineering. I mean, we're talking about delivering electrons. You still need copper, you still need transformers. You still need to put all the infrastructure to deliver electrons from point A to point B. So [00:46:00] the traditional bits of engineering are still very much apropos here.
I think some of the new and exciting areas that I've seen from this project are things that look at the optimization of delivery of electricity across our grid as we get additional distributed electrical resources popping up. What kind of impacts do we see happening on the grid? And there's been a lot of software development to help out that particular question, including things like machine [00:46:30] learning that we've seen, especially in our engineering office. There's probably half a dozen other really exciting areas, but I think the right answer for your question is engineering and sciences is really at the forefront of this exciting initiative and we'll continue to be moving forward.
Jan De Silva: Okay, thanks. Keegan, any further thoughts?
Keegan Tully: Yeah, I mean, I think electricity is the future if we want [00:47:00] to get to a net zero world. And so there's going to have to be lots of investment in the Toronto Hydro, the delivery system, the generation system. And so all the jobs as everyone has been saying in the technical and trades in engineering are going to be a huge growth area. And I think what we need to do as an industry is really encourage diversity of participation. Get [00:47:30] people of different backgrounds, different genders, and make sure that they're participating in the program and getting trained up, because there's going to be a lot of growth in this area and it's essential to have those people ready to work in the future.
Jan De Silva: Yeah, well, and I just reflect what we heard from Ford and GM and Toyota as they were making the announcements of the movement of battery electric vehicle production into the province. And one of the catalysts for that was the depth of research talent coming out of our university's, [00:48:00] particular in engineering, which was moving that forward. But they were also flagging the amount of jobs in the supply chain and the overall service ecosystem that will be created as we actually start deploying electric vehicles. And I think that is a very important value prop that this partnership of the three organizations is going to deliver. It's going to help us understand what those jobs are and how do we get our talent lined up for that.
So that's all very exciting. I'm just looking at time. I've got time [00:48:30] for one more question, because it's a question to each of you. For all of you, what is the top piece of advice you would give to an organization that's considering electrifying their fleet? Where should they start and what potential challenges should they be aware of? So top piece of advice to an organization considering electrifying their fleet? Where should they start and what potential challenges should they be aware of? Bem, you're nodding your head the most vigorously, so we'll start with you.
Bem Case: [00:49:00] I would start by contacting both your local utility, if you're in Ontario, certainly contact OPG as well. I would also contact... I know this is a three part answer to a simple first part of your question... I would also contact us or contact others who are electrifying, because you can't get the proper advice in 30 second answer to that question. It's a very long conversation [00:49:30] about what all of the challenges are and the lessons learned along the way to date, and what we're doing to ensure resiliency of our service ultimately. And so I would start by reaching out to utility, reach out to OPG, reach out to me. We can all talk together if you like. I think that's, in terms of the biggest challenges, one of them is I think for us, we are very lucky in that we had [00:50:00] a board in our board of directors, we had a mayor, we had a federal government, we had an executive team at TTC, and we had the technical team at TTC as well, all eager to move on this.
We had alignment at all the levels that are required from funding to decision making and know how [00:50:30] and with passion, real passion on this project. And, I know Joe can speak to this too. In the first phase of adoption, we really gelled as a team very tightly because we're all motivated and we all believed in the higher goals that this project will deliver. And so I think you need that to be successful. And so I would work on generating that kind of buy-in across all of your stakeholders.
Joe Bile: Maybe Jan, [00:51:00] I'll pipe in. And thanks, Ben for stealing my thunder on that one too. But actually the one point that I wanted to emphasize is call us early. In the past, we were living in a power distribution mindset where power flowed from generators like OPG through transmission wires, distribution wires to the customer. And the day to day was [00:51:30] just really replicating that. What we see with technology like this is we now have distributed electric resources that are popping up all over the grid. These are generation elements that are dealt with a little bit differently. And so the more time that we can work together to develop some of these projects, the better it is for all parties. So if you do have distributed electric resources that you're looking to apply, whether it's a transit electrification [00:52:00] project, or some other battery electric storage type of device, the best thing you can do is really to reach out to your local distribution company, not just us, any of them in Ontario. And I think they'd be more than happy to have some early conversations with you around that.
Jan De Silva: Keegan.
Keegan Tully: Yeah. I mean, I think I really like the TTC playbook in this case. So, start with something small. It can be overwhelming [00:52:30] to think about electrification and jumping right into it. So start with a pilot usually, you can accommodate a certain amount of electric vehicle charging within an existing electricity service. So start small get organizational comfort around the vehicles. Get your operators comfortable. Get your maintainers comfortable. And just get into it early. And then as that comfort grows, I think it's expanding beyond that and looking to do something [00:53:00] bigger. And then I think it's really important to reach out to the experts, your local distribution company partners that are experts at delivering large scale electrical infrastructure, because it gets really complicated, really fast.
So reach out to somebody like OPG and we're happy to help and guide people through it, and partner and make it happen. And I guess I would just echo what the others were saying. Start early. Major electricity [00:53:30] projects sometimes you're taking very small sort of commercial electricity companies or consumers and turning them into industrial size electricity consumers. That takes time. So get out in front, start early and start the planning with your partners and your local distribution company.
Jan De Silva: Well, and before we go into wrap, I just want to say what strikes me as so exciting about this, yes, Bem, it's great when all the stars and moon and the board and [00:54:00] everyone else aligns on ambition, but it really, if you think about where the city was pre COVID, we really had this huge growing reputation as a center for innovation. But the negative side of that is we were all saying, we're really, really good at the research, it's not so much at the deployment. Well, guys, this is leading edge in terms of deployment and us getting there well, getting there first really sets the stage for both the research and the capabilities [00:54:30] that we're building in market to enable this, but also for what's next.
Maybe it's three years, maybe it's sooner, Keegan, when we're starting to see the delivery vehicles. I know Billy Bishop has a lot of ambitions about what can they do to electrify at the airport except the aircraft. Not just yet. But you think about delivery, the passenger interface, luggage, all of that. So it's a really exciting jumping off point. It's tremendous to see it happening in this city at this time. And [00:55:00] it really takes partnership, which is not always easy to do, but it's great to see three organizations. You're the right three to make it happen.
It's exciting to think about where we'll go. At the Board of Trade, we also do work with the nine largest cities in the country and I know this is a discussion anytime we're together with the big city mayor's group, discussions about electric buses and mass procurement across these cities. Well, what you're building here, I think is highly transferable. And the final point I'd say about what [00:55:30] makes it so exciting is Yung Wu, the CEO of MaRS sits on my board of directors, and he's so bullish about the climate economy and our bench strength in that. So thank you for what you're building, because it's really going to give us all the ingredients for success as that climate economy takes forward, takes hold as we're moving forward.
So I want to thank all three of you gentlemen, and all three of your organizations for the work behind the scenes and for what you've been able to share with us today. We look forward to getting [00:56:00] updates. Hopefully once we're through reopening, we can actually do an event on one of these electric buses. You guys can show us how everything works. But I thank you very much for joining us today. Unfortunately, that's all the time we have.
Before people sign off, I'd like to quickly mention a related event from the board. A week from now, Tuesday, June 8th, we'll be hosting an event called Nuclear and the Net Zero Future. Today, we talked about the importance of energy infrastructure under increasing demand [00:56:30] for GHG free power. Nuclear also holds a lot of opportunities for us to get to net zero, but the timelines on building a new nuclear power plant are long. So we need to make decisions plans now. You can register for that or any of the board's virtual events at bot.com/events. We've also had Bem, Keegan and Joe also talk about being able to reach out to them. If we can help with that connection, again, feel free to reach out to us at bot.com. Thank you all for joining [00:57:00] us. Be well, get vaccinated, and have a great rest of the day. Take care.