Regional planning began in 2010 for the Windsor-Essex region was completed in April 2015 and an Integrated Regional Resource Plan (IRRP) was released.

Regional planning process outcome

In the near and medium term, demand in the Kingsville-Leamington area has exceeded supply capacity. A large portion of the study area does not currently comply with the prescribed Ontario Resource and Transmission Assessment Criteria (ORTAC) restoration criteria. A recommended plan to build a short transmission line and a new transformer station near Leamington in combination with refurbishment work at the Kingsville and Keith stations will address the needs identified for the area.

No long-term needs were identified at this time. The next regional planning process is scheduled to begin in 2018.

IRRP Working Group

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 representatives from the five LDCs in the area - EnWin Utilities, Essex Powerlines Corporation, E.L.K. Energy Inc., Entegrus Powerlines Inc., Hydro One Networks Inc., and the IESO.

Area overview

The Windsor-Essex region is the most southerly portion of Ontario, extending from southwest Chatham to Windsor. It consists of the City of Windsor, the Municipality of Leamington, the Towns of Amherstberg, Essex, Kingsville, Lakeshore, LaSalle, Tecumseh, and the Township of Pelee, as well as the western portion of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.

In addition to ensuring adequate supply to the area as a whole, the IRRP focuses on meeting supply capacity requirements in the Kingsville-Leamington area.

Community Engagement

The IESO hosted two open houses in Windsor and Essex in the summer and spring of 2015 to review the outcomes of the Windsor-Essex IRRP. Given that there are no long-term electricity needs identified in the plan that require regional coordination, it has been decided at a local level that there is no need to establish a Local Advisory Committee (LAC) at this time. 

Electricity demands in Windsor-Essex

The region is home to approximately 390,000 people and has a peak electricity demand of approximately 800 MW. The urban portion of the region in and around Windsor has a long history of advanced manufacturing, especially in the automotive sector. This sector is experiencing a slow recovery from the 2008/2009 global recession. In the past, these operations constituted a significant portion of the region's overall electricity demand, but since 2008, these requirements have decreased.

While the manufacturing sector continues to face recovery challenges, economic diversification is changing the region's economy and electricity use. This includes a focus on entertainment tourism in the downtown core, including a resort casino.

The rural portion of the region in Essex County supports a combination of manufacturing and agri-business. Essex County contains the largest concentration of greenhouse vegetable production in North America. This sector is expected to experience major growth in the future, with much of the activity taking place in the Kingsville-Leamington area, increasing electricity supply requirements in that part of the region. Essex County is also home to several large food processing operations, and a growing winery sector.