How a Greenhouse in Leamington Overcame the Electricity Shortage Using Cogeneration

From lack of supply to unreasonably high electricity rates, growers don’t have to suffer.
5 December, 2022 by
How a Greenhouse in Leamington Overcame the Electricity Shortage Using Cogeneration
T&T Power Group.

Currently in Ontario, the Leamington-Kingsville area is experiencing unprecedented growth due to the expansion of the greenhouse industry.

In fact, the area is expected to quadruple in electricity demand over the next 15 years - resulting in a critical shortage of electricity supply while infrastructure upgrades are still years away from completion at best.

Naturally, this has presented problems for many Ontario greenhouses and other businesses with substantial power needs; holding them back from realizing their full growth potential.

Take DT Enterprise Farms, for example. Established in the year 2000 by brothers Tony and Don Mastronardi, DT Farms started out with a 7-acre operation, and went on to build an additional 9 acres one year later.

Fast forward to 2020, and DT Farms was in growth mode once again with plans to add a new state-of-the-art range, but were held back by a crucial power problem. “Ontario hydro just does not have enough infrastructure to supply all of these greenhouses with the amount of power we need,” explained DT’s VP Tony Mastronardi.


“When DT Farms reached out to us at T&T Power Group, it was a really familiar story”, explained T&T Power Group’s Tilo McAlister.

“They were looking to expand their greenhouse operation with a new facility and grow lights, but they were told by the local utility company that the power simply just wasn’t available. While the area has an electricity supply shortage, they definitely don’t have a gas supply shortage - and that really created the opportunity.”

With its own generator shop and panel shops, T&T Power Group was able to provide a turnkey combined heat and power solution to take DT Enterprise Farms completely off-grid while still providing electricity at a very reasonable cost.

“T&T was able to present a solution that gave us 2 MWs of power; that was pretty much a turnkey deal,” said Tony.

“If [DT Farms] wasn’t able to get the CHP due to the fact that there was such a lack of hydro, this range probably would not have been built - because the sole purpose of this range was to produce hydroponic tomatoes for our customers during the winter months.”

Since greenhouses like DT Farms have a large thermal load in addition to the electrical load, it’s possible to recover all wasted heat from the coolant and the exhaust on the generators, to be converted into hot water that can actually be used in the facility - which is exactly what T&T Power arranged for DT Farms.

“Using a conventional power generator to convert a fuel like natural gas into electricity is actually not a very efficient process,” explains Tilo. “Most of that energy in the fuel is actually lost as heat - and it also creates a lot of harmful emissions for a relatively small amount of electricity.”

Needless to say, combined heat and power generation (CHP) is by far the most environmentally-friendly way to convert natural gas into useful energy.

As the Canadian distributor for the Siemens Energy gas engine, T&T Power Group is able to design and build highly efficient, robust CHP systems equipped to run for decades.

“Siemens Energy chose T&T as its Canadian distributor because we know the type of support they provide in the market. They understand their customers, they know how to provide solutions for those customers, and they know how to service and support them in a way that makes their operations and projects successful” - Exor Montes, BDM, Siemens Energy NA.

T&T’s successful CHP project with DT Enterprise Farms sets an excellent example for other Ontario greenhouses and businesses that are struggling to grow due to problems attaining enough power from the utility system, or that are just simply fed up with the cost of power that is already available to them.

If this sounds like you, T&T Power Group is here to help.

Contact our team of power experts today to learn about how your greenhouse or business can overcome the Leamington-Kingsville/ Ontario power supply problem by switching to more efficient power solutions like CHP.

See our Complete Guide to Combined Heat & Power (CHP)

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