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Ontario’s electricity system ready for winter

December 12, 2017

Ontario’s high-voltage power system has adequate generation and transmission resources to maintain reliability and meet the province’s forecasted electricity needs over the next 18 months. Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator’s (IESO) 18-Month Outlook report, released today, assesses the grid’s reliability from January 2018 to June 2019.

“Continuing the trend of the last few years, we’re forecasting that Ontario will continue to experience flat growth in electricity demand,” said Leonard Kula, Vice-President, Procurement, Acquisition and Operations and Chief Operating Officer. “We attribute this mainly to Ontarians’ conservation efforts, generation on local distribution networks and the Industrial Conservation Initiative, which all work to reduce demand on the provincial power system and offset any expected growth we might see from increased population and economic expansion.”

During the Outlook timeframe, 1,335 megawatts (MW) of generation are expected to be added to the provincial power system: 1,000 MW of gas, 275 MW of wind, 50 MW of solar, and 10 MW of hydroelectric power. On local distribution networks, an additional 200 MW of solar will be added, bringing total wind and solar capacity on local distribution networks to over 3,300 MW. As a result of the province’s robust supply situation and flat yearly demand for electricity, the procurement phases of the IESO’s Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) and microFIT programs have come to an end. These programs have been instrumental in helping Ontario establish the clean energy supply mix it has today.

Ontario’s strong supply situation also means it is well-positioned to explore efficiencies that could be gained from market reforms. “The IESO is working to ensure that the many planned design changes improve how electricity is priced, scheduled and acquired to meet Ontario’s electricity needs reliably, transparently and at lowest cost,” said Kula.

And while the province has sufficient generation and transmission resources to maintain reliability, there is still a need for greater flexibility to respond quickly to changing conditions. To this end, the IESO has secured two new energy storage facilities, representing 55 MW of regulation service that will help to balance supply and demand on a second-to-second basis. These new storage facilities represent one of the largest reductions in per-unit regulation costs since Ontario’s electricity market opened in 2002 – a sign of the increased performance and cost-effectiveness of emerging technologies in Ontario.

About the 18-Month Outlook

The IESO’s 18-Month Outlook reports on the adequacy of Ontario’s generation and transmission resources to meet the province’s forecasted electricity needs over the next 18 months. The report looks at a variety of factors including weather forecasts, new planned generation and the health of the province’s transmission infrastructure. It sets out a forecast for provincial electricity demand and measures the system’s preparedness to maintain reliable operations.

About the IESO

The IESO manages the province's power system so that Ontarians receive power when and where they need it. It plans and prepares for future electricity needs and works with its partners to guide conservation efforts. The IESO is also leading a Market Renewal Program, which will enhance the way electricity is priced, scheduled and procured to meet Ontario’s current and future energy needs reliably, transparently, efficiently and at lowest cost.

IESO Media Contact:
John Cannella

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