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Thunder Bay - Regional Plan

While electricity demand has decreased in recent years, there is potential for renewed growth in the Thunder Bay sub-region associated with forecast mining and other industrial development throughout the Northwest, due to the area's position as a regional hub. Regional planning will provide options to address the potential for demand growth, considering both the limits on the existing supply to the area, and opportunities for coordinating new demand and supply options.

Current status: An Integrated Regional Resource Plan (IRRP) has been released for the Thunder Bay sub-region.

How to get involved

A Local Advisory Committee (LAC) has been established to provide advice on the development of the electricity plan for this area. LAC meetings are open to the public.

To find out about upcoming meetings and to participate, please visit the active engagement page.

Subscribe to receive updates on the status of the plan and to learn about opportunities for municipalities, community groups, stakeholders and the general public to provide input.

A Working Group consisting of the local distribution companies in the region, the local transmitter and the IESO will use the regional planning process to identify and meet local electricity needs. The Working Group consists of staff from Thunder Bay Hydro, Hydro One Distribution, Hydro One Transmission and the IESO.

Area overview

In addition to being the largest population centre in Northwest Ontario, the Thunder Bay area hosts several industrial facilities, including pulp and paper and primary resource industries. Electricity demand in this area peaks during the winter months, with historical peak demand ranging from around 350 MW to 400 MW.

For regional planning purposes, the Thunder Bay sub-region extends from the north shore of Lake Superior to the southern shore of Lake Nipigon, and from the Township of Nipigon to Kakabeka Falls. In addition to the City of Thunder Bay, several municipalities are located within this area, as well as the Fort William and Red Rock First Nations.

Thunder Bay mapMap of Thunder Bay Region

Historical context

In 2007, the OPA (now the IESO) examined the supply adequacy of the Thunder Bay area in anticipation of the shutdown of local coal-fired generation as part of the Integrated Power System Plan. Since that time, the IESO has been monitoring supply and demand in the area, to ensure that a reliable supply of electricity is maintained. To date, the area's supply has been adequate and no reinforcement has been necessary.