Regional system planning ensures a reliable supply of electricity to Ontario's 21 electricity planning regions. Regional planning looks at the unique needs of each, and considers conservation, generation, transmission and distribution, and innovative resources to meet these needs.
There are a number of elements to regional planning:
Coordination: Electricity planning happens at the local, regional and provincial level, each with its own considerations. By looking at the things that will affect electricity delivery and reliability at the local level, such as Community Energy Plans, as well as province-wide projects like new bulk transmission lines, regional planning is an essential link between how broader and more localized planning activities work together.
Engagement: In addition to working closely with local electricity distributors and the local transmitter, regional planning includes a strong commitment to public participation. The discussion on how to meet regional power needs in Ontario includes the voices of Indigenous communities and municipalities, individuals and business groups.
Integration: After identifying and measuring electricity needs and hearing from the communities involved, planners weigh the best mix of available options. This can include conservation and demand management, new or increased generation, investment in transmission or distribution facilities, or innovative solutions.
Planners develop recommendations on how best to meet reliability needs after considering all of these factors. Regional planning is a continual process with plans developed for a 20-year outlook, but evaluated every five years at minimum.
Throughout the process the IESO works with the local distribution companies (LDCs) and the transmitter to ensure regional issues and requirements are effectively integrated into the electricity planning processes.