The regional planning cycle for the Hamilton sub-region was completed in February 2019 and an Integrated Regional Resource Plan (IRRP) was released.
The IESO engages with local and regional communities to seek input to help inform planning activities. Learn more about engagement on the current planning cycle.
Regional Planning Status
The Hamilton sub-region IRRP provides recommendations to address the forecast electricity needs of the over the next 20 years. The IRRP was developed based on planning criteria considerations such as reliability, cost, feasibility, and flexibility. In examining a number of end-of-life asset replacement needs over the near-, medium- and long-term planning horizons, this IRRP seeks to maximize the use of existing electricity system assets in the context of the forecast conditions for the overall planning area.
Recommendations are focused on the replacement of assets at their end of life, relieving modest capacity needs in certain area pockets, and ensuring that reliability is met by examining the capability to restore load following specific transmission outages. A series of near-term actions were identified to gather information and lay the groundwork for future options to address projected infrastructure. These actions are intended to be completed before the next IRRP cycle so that their results can inform further discussion at that time.
The Hamilton sub-region encompasses the City of Hamilton, which includes the communities of Hamilton, Flamborough, Dundas, Ancaster, Glanbrook, Binbrook, Waterdown, and Stoney Creek which have a combined population of over 536,000 people. With a summer peak demand of just over 1,300 MW, customers in this sub-region are supplied by Alectra or Hydro One Distribution. However, the sub-region’s transmission connected customers are supplied directly by Hydro One Transmission.
The forecast demand for the Hamilton sub-region has been relatively consistent in recent years, while maintaining some small pockets of growth. However, a substantial number of station facilities and underground cables have been identified as reaching their end-of-life, providing an opportunity to re-examine their current use and configuration in the context of the latest load forecast and generation data. In this instance, due to the number of facilities impacted and their proximity to one another, a comprehensive regional planning process is underway to optimize the transmission assets in the Hamilton area as they are renewed.
In May 2013, the OEB endorsed the Planning Process Working Group’s report, formalizing the regional planning process. The Burlington to Nanticoke area was one of the first regions to undergo the new planning process, with a needs assessment published by Hydro One in May 2014 and, subsequently, a scoping assessment published by the former OPA in September 2014. At that time, the former OPA’s scoping assessment indicated there was no need to complete an Integrated Regional Resource Plan (IRRP) for the Hamilton sub-region and that the identified needs could be addressed through local planning between the LDCs and the transmitter.
In late 2016, the IESO was made aware of a number of significant sustainment investments in the Hamilton sub-region, for which there had been no information at the time of the 2014 needs assessment. Accordingly, the IESO worked with Hydro One to undertake a review of these ongoing projects.
In the spring of 2017, the Burlington to Nanticoke RIP process identified additional end-of-life needs in the Hamilton sub-region, highlighting a need for coordinated planning. As a result, the RIP report (published February 2017) recommended that a needs assessment be undertaken for the Burlington to Nanticoke region, restarting the regional planning cycle ahead of schedule.
Hydro One completed the needs assessment for the Burlington to Nanticoke region in May 2017, identifying a number of sustainment needs, particularly in the Hamilton area, which require regional coordination.
Regional Planning Activities in Hamilton
A Scoping Assessment Outcome Report and Terms of Reference for the Hamilton sub-region IRRP was finalized and posted in September 2017, after a two-week comment period. The IESO publishes all feedback received and responses from the Technical Working Group in the Key Resources section.
An engagement initiative was launched to provide participants with an overview of needs identified during the regional electricity planning process, and an opportunity to provide input to proposed recommendations to meet local needs. The final IRRP for the Hamilton sub-region was posted concluding the community engagement initiative.
For more information, visit Regional Planning Process.
Previous Regional Planning Studies
When the Burlington to Nanticoke Regional Needs Assessment and Scoping Assessment were completed during the previous planning cycle in 2014, detailed information on the condition of assets in the Hamilton area was not available. The Technical Working Group at that time decided not to begin coordinated regional planning in this sub-region based on the assessed scope of work. Since then, a Regional Infrastructure Plan completed by Hydro One in February 2017 identified needs within the Hamilton sub-region.
Based on these results, the Regional Planning process for the Burlington to Nanticoke Region was initiated in 2017 with the completion of a Needs Assessment in May 2017 by Hydro One. Based on the identification of local infrastructure needs such as end of life infrastructure replacements, the Working Group has completed a Scoping Assessment Outcome Report as part of the next steps in the regional planning process, with an Integrated Regional Resource Plan anticipated to be posted in Q1 2019.
Hamilton sub-region Technical Working Group
A Working Group consisting of the local distribution companies in the region, the local transmitter and the IESO will continue to use the regional planning process to identify and meet local electricity needs.
The Working Group consists of staff from Alectra Utilities, Hydro One Distribution, Hydro One Transmission and the IESO.
The Hamilton sub-region Working Group will continue to meet at regular intervals to monitor developments in the sub-region and track progress toward plan deliverables. In particular, the actions and deliverables associated with mid- to long-term end-of-life equipment will require annual review of system demand, program achievement and asset condition to determine whether recommendations require further review by the Working Group. In the event that underlying assumptions change significantly, local plans may be revisited through an amendment, or by initiating a new regional planning cycle sooner than the OEB-mandated five-year schedule.