City Responds To The Bulldog’s E-Bus Story

 

The City of Ottawa media relations department sent this email to The Bulldog concerning the post Wednesday headlined Ottawa’s E-Bus Fleet To Be Charged By Gas.

To read the story to which this note refers, click here:

 

Hello Ken,

I’m sorry we weren’t able to get you a response yesterday on the two generators for the ZEB program, our deepest apologies for that. We saw that you posted your article, Ottawa’s E-Bus Fleet To Be Charged By Gas, and we were hoping you could make and adjustment to it.


In the article, it’s indicated that the generators will be used to power the charging infrastructure due to Hydro Ottawa not having the capacity to charge the e-buses with electricity. We’ve spoken with staff and are hoping to provide some further clarification to update your piece.

We’ve included a response below on this, along with the attached report, to help clarify this. We hope you will be able to update your article with this information.

“As outlined in our Zero Emission Bus Program Update report (attached), two 4MW generators have been procured to provide backup power to support the charging infrastructure. The City of Ottawa is working with Hydro Ottawa to expand the necessary infrastructure to meet the future load demands of the St. Laurent garage. Further information on the Zero Emission Bus Program and other contingency measures will be shared at the March 18 Transit Commission meeting.”

–          Attributed to Daniel Villeneuve, Program Manager, Capital Projects and Engineering

Thank you,

Seb

 

The Bulldog stands behind the story.

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4 Responses

  1. Ron Benn says:

    Interesting choice of words from the city. “The City of Ottawa is working with Hydro Ottawa to expand the necessary infrastructure to meet the future load demands of the St. Laurent garage.”

    It sounds like the current infrastructure is not capable of meeting the future demands of the St. Laurent garage. Not surprising, given that the back up generators would be capable of powering a town the size of Brockville.

    Is the plan to have the entire fleet of electric buses stationed out of the St. Laurent garage? If so, doesn’t that represent a concentration risk? If there was a major fire we could lose the use of the entire electric bus fleet.

    If the plan is to utilize other existing OC Transpo lots (e.g. Connaught, Colonnade), do the various existing OC Transpo yards have the necessary infrastructure to meet the future load demands at those stations?

    It is oft the case that incomplete communications generate more questions than they answer.

  2. The Voter says:

    Well! This ‘response’ is even more baffling that the usual drivel that Happy Town News puts out. I’ve read it as well as your first post several times and can’t figure out what the correction is that they want you to make to your original post. I’ve tried to break it down but I’m still not much further ahead. So here are my comments/questions for the HTN crew and OC Transpo.

    “we were hoping you could make and adjustment to it.”

    If that’s what you’re looking for, you need to clearly state what exactly was incorrect in the original and provide the correct facts.

    “In the article, it’s indicated that the generators will be used to power the charging infrastructure due to Hydro Ottawa not having the capacity to charge the e-buses with electricity.”

    Then are you saying Ken’s post is not true and Hydro Ottawa (HO) does have the capacity? Further on in your email, you clearly state that HO does not have the capacity and you are working with them to develop it at the St. Laurent facility. So Ken’s statement is correct according to your own rebuttal document. So what do you want him to “amend”?

    “two 4MW generators have been procured to provide backup power to support the charging infrastructure.”

    Many residents of Ottawa are more than familiar with back-up generators since they own them in order to have power during outages when HO is unable, for whatever reason, to provide power to their homes and businesses. These are called “back-up generators” because they are only called on to provide power when HO’s normal services are not available. The critical word there is “normal”. The difference between that and the electric bus situation is that the norm for residents is that HO provides the power except in extraordinary circumstances whereas the power for the buses is being created and provided by these generators and not by HO. The latter case cannot be called “back-up” since it is the primary source of power, possibly supplemented by some minimal amount of HO-generated electricity.

    Like most people, I have little understanding of the quantity of electricity that can be generated by two 4MW generators. Could you explain how many electric buses could be powered by these generators and/or what else you’re planning that they might be used for by OC Transpo other than powering buses? How many electric buses are expected to be based at the St. Laurent garage and, if they are being phased in, please explain when each increment will come onstream?

    “The City of Ottawa is working with Hydro Ottawa to expand the necessary infrastructure to meet the future load demands of the St. Laurent garage.”

    What is the timeline for this work? In other words, when will HO be providing the power to charge the buses?

    You refer specifically to the “future load demands of the St. Laurent garage.” This raises two questions. First, are you preparing now for the increased demand only for the initial group of electric buses that will operate out of that facility or are you gearing up for the load that will be required when every bus running out of St. Laurent will be electric? The second question is what, if anything, is being done to prepare for the power needed at all the other garages across the OC Transpo system when they too are housing an all-electric fleet?

    “Further information on the Zero Emission Bus Program and other contingency measures will be shared at the March 18 Transit Commission meeting.”

    Does “other contingency measures” mean that there are requirements other than the two generators that will be necessary as back up measures to allow the electric fleet to operate? I hope that the March 18th presentation will include full details and a comprehensive costing of these measures.

  3. MM says:

    Interesting. What’s stands out, is what the City did not write. They didn’t indicate that any of your reporting was inaccurate, so I’ll take that as an admission from the City that your story is spot on.

  4. Kosmo says:

    Well Mr. Benn don’t count on the St. Laurent garage expanding their infrastructure anytime soon, it’s a major undertaking. Considering last summer they had to stop charging the 4 test buses at the peak heat to keep the air conditioner running in the building.

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