Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) will mark a major milestone with the introduction of a new dispatch tool for all grid-connected wind resources. This new capability is highlighted in the organization's latest 18-Month Outlook.
The ability to dispatch wind, scheduled to take effect September 11, 2013, comes at a pivotal point in Ontario's transition to a more sustainable fuel mix. By February 2015, an expected 7,400 MW of wind and solar power will be connected across the distribution and transmission networks.
"The IESO is constantly looking for ways to improve the efficient operation of the province's electricity market, while promoting continued reliable supply," said Bruce Campbell, President and Chief Executive Officer of the IESO. "The dispatch of variable generation - wind and soon solar - will help reliably and efficiently integrate the growing fleet of variable generators into our system."
This new capability adds an important lever to the reliable operation of the bulk power system. It gives operators another source of flexibility to meet ramping requirements as demand for electricity increases and decreases over the day, and to manage surplus baseload generation (SBG). Within the availability of wind, wind turbines can be highly flexible, increasing and decreasing output very quickly in response to system needs.
The dispatch will apply to 1,725 MW of existing transmission-connected wind resources as well as an estimated 3,000 MW of transmission-connected wind and 280 MW of transmission- connected solar expected to come into service over the next 18 months. Distribution-based wind and solar facilities, forecast to total almost 2,400 MW during this period, will not be subject to grid dispatch, but the output from those facilities will now be visible to the IESO's system operators. The enhancements also include state-of-art wind forecasting to assist in planning and executing daily operations.
Overall, the 18-Month Outlook projects adequate generation and transmission capability to meet consumer demands over the next year and a half - including a 2014 summer peak forecast approaching 25,000 MW in extreme weather conditions.
Other new supply to be added to the system includes the conversion of the former Atikokan coal facility to biomass and 223 MW of hydroelectric capacity coming from the Lower Mattagami expansion project.
This outlook period also includes the final stage of the coal shutdown, with approximately 3,000 MW of supply being taken out of service. The remaining coal-fired units at Lambton and Nanticoke will cease operations by the end of 2013. The Thunder Bay facility is currently slated to stop burning coal by no later than the end of 2014.
Surplus baseload generation (SBG) conditions will continue to increase through the forecast period, a reflection of declining minimum demands for electricity as well as significant quantities of baseload generation on the system. SBG is being managed through normal market mechanisms, including exports, nuclear manoeuvres and soon, wind dispatch.
The IESO regularly assesses the adequacy and reliability of Ontario's power system. The 18-Month Outlook is issued on a quarterly basis and is available at http://www.ieso.ca/18-month.outlook.sep2013.