Ontario’s power system is prepared to meet the province’s expected demand for electricity over the coming summer months, according to the Independent Electricity System Operator’s (IESO) latest Reliability Outlook.
“Our system remains reliable as we head into the summer, with adequate resources to supply the electricity needs of homes and businesses across the province,” says Leonard Kula, the IESO’s Chief Operating Officer. “Maintaining the reliability of the province’s electricity system on behalf of all Ontarians is at the core of what we do, and we are well equipped to manage potential operational challenges resulting from possible extreme weather this summer.”
The Reliability Outlook includes forecasted electricity demand and system adequacy over the next 18-month period, and includes an extended 42-month outlook to provide transparency into the future electricity needs of the province.
The trend of flat provincial electricity demand over the past decade is expected to continue over the next 18 months. Ontario will, however, experience some localized demand growth as a result of regional economic activity. Electricity use in the Windsor-Essex region is expected to double over the next five years due to strong agricultural growth, primarily from expansion in the greenhouse sector. The IESO recently requested the development and construction of new transmission infrastructure in the Windsor-Essex area, to help support future electricity needs.
The extended five-year outlook identifies a potential capacity need beginning in the summer of 2020, with that need growing larger in 2023 – a time when long-term contracts with generation facilities begin to expire, and nuclear units are being refurbished or retired. Ontario’s capacity requirements throughout this period are expected to be met using resources such as demand response, imports, generators that are coming off long-term contracts, expansions of existing facilities and energy efficiency measures.
Competitive auctions in 2020 and beyond will address the growing capacity need, providing an opportunity for these resources to compete in Ontario’s electricity market. This is part of a Market Renewal program that will achieve approximately $3.4 billion in savings for Ontario residents and businesses over a ten year period.
The IESO will be updating its forecast and will release a new annual planning document this September, which will outline Ontario’s future electricity needs for the next 20 years.
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