In the last 50 years, the province of Ontario has lost electrical power at various times, which has challenged Ontario’s emergency-response capabilities. In addition to the loss of electricity supply, there were concerns regarding access to diesel fuels and gasoline due to loss of electrical power to pump the fuel. However, natural gas and propane are a viable alternative energy supply in an emergency scenario.

The purpose of this project is to assess the role of natural gas in an emergency scenario and potential areas for further optimization to meet energy needs within the region of Durham, Ontario. An energy management model for the region of Durham has been developed for both electricity and natural gas. This model can be used to assess the impact of an emergency scenario on energy supply. This was achieved by researching different types of critical facilities such as hospitals, emergency services, schools, water/sewage facilities, community centers, shopping centers and gas stations and their reliance upon electricity and natural gas. Major shopping centers were included within this project as they provide communities with medical, grocery and basic needs.

Data gathered for 415 facilities was incorporated into a Visual Basic model. The data was based on floor space, population, fleet size, water consumption, fuel types and energy use behavior. Facilities were divided into categories based on sizes of less than 5,000 m2, between 5,000 m2 and 15,000 m2, and greater than 15,000 m2 for the purposes of the model. Unique facilities such as the six water treatment facilities and the ten E.M.S stations were assessed individually. The data was then used to create a model that related the available electricity and natural gas to the various types of facilities in the Durham Region.

The results show that natural gas infrastructure is already in place in the Region of Durham and many critical facilities currently use natural gas to supply heat energy. Hence, modest changes (cogeneration plants/ micro gas turbines) in the current infrastructure could be implemented to ensure emergency power is available from natural gas in a loss of electricity scenario and further improve the resiliency of the region of Durham in an emergency scenario.

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