Virtually self-sufficient in all forms of energy, Canada has an abundant, dependable and inexpensive supply of energy, natural resources and raw materials with utility costs up to 30% less than in U.S. urban centres. In the Windsor-Essex Region, our temperate climate accounts for seven months of mild temperatures, reducing annual heating.
In the Windsor-Essex region three municipally-owned utilities corporations are responsible for the transmission and distribution of electricity: EnWin Powerlines serves the City of Windsor; Essex Power Corporation covers the Towns of Amherstburg, LaSalle, Leamington and Tecumseh; and ELK Energy operates in the Towns of Essex, Lakeshore and Kingsville. The Ontario Energy Board licenses all electricity market participants and approves the rates to be charged for the distribution and transmission of electricity in the province.
Industrial parks are serviced with up to 230,000 volts of electric power, but generally 27,600 volt lines feed individual users through step-down transformers.
The Windsor Utilities Commission (WUC) has developed a high tech district heating and cooling system. It is the first system in North America to supply both heating and cooling requirements. Fed by a 20 megawatt thermal plant, the system serves the entire downtown core area.
Two natural gas combined cycle power plants operate in the Windsor-Essex Region: Brighton Beach Power, a 580 megawatt facility, and West Windsor Power, which generates 112 megawatts of electricity.
A bountiful water supply is a distinct Ontario characteristic. The Great Lakes shoreline is 2,361 miles (3,800 km) long. Ontario's share of the Great Lakes, the largest fresh water body in the world, amounts to 33,000 square miles (85,470 square km). The Windsor-Essex share of the shoreline amounts to 105 miles (168 km).
The WUC provides filtration and treatment to water taken from the Detroit River through the A.H. Weeks water treatment facility. This treatment plant, along with three pumping stations and two reservoirs, serves approximately 250,000 people in the City of Windsor, the Town of LaSalle and the Town of Tecumseh.
The WUC was the first utility in Ontario, and among the leading edge utilities in North America, to offer ozone as a treatment process. The $4.7 million investment in this process has heightened the purity and safety of Windsor and neighbouring municipalities' water, which already undergoes the most technologically advanced treatments, to an even higher standard.
Union Gas Limited supplies natural gas through an underground plant of 2,450 miles (3,920 km) of distribution pipeline to 135,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers. In order to provide its customers with a full range of services, Union Gas has expanded its line of business to include: gas sales, gas distribution, service of gas equipment, merchandising of equipment, financing, energy consulting for commercial/industrial customers and natural gas for vehicles.
Union has a strong commitment to the protection of the environment and to the education of its customers on environmental issues and wise use of energy. Union Gas places a high priority on consumer education, environmental stewardship and community involvement. Energy efficiency clinics and information sessions are offered throughout the heating season to help customers use natural gas wisely. In addition to energy delivery services, Union Gas offers natural gas storage and transportation services to other utilities and energy market participants in Ontario, Quebec and the United States.
In order to help its customers and extend market potential, Union has been successful in helping a number of enterprises in the Windsor-Essex Region develop cogeneration technology and is committed to supporting research and development of new gas burning technologies in the future.