Ontario's electricity supply margins will remain positive for at least the next year and a half, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) reported in its latest 18-Month Outlook.
Over the next 18 months, more than 3,000 megawatts (MW) of capacity will be added to the grid, comprising approximately 1,500 MW of nuclear generation and 1,500 MW of grid-connected renewable generation. By February 2014, total wind and solar generation connected to the transmission and distribution systems in Ontario will reach approximately 4,800 MW.
After extensive consultation with stakeholders, the IESO has implemented a new centralized forecasting service that is more accurately predicting the output from wind facilities in Ontario. This service will soon be expanded to predict solar output as well. The IESO is also continuing its program to incorporate these renewable resources into the dispatch process. This will help match generation to demand at times when consumer use quickly ramps up or down.
Total energy consumption is forecast to remain flat in 2012 before shrinking slightly in 2013 as a result of several factors. Global economic conditions, increased embedded generation capacity, conservation initiatives and time-of-use rates will constrain demand increases on the bulk power system.
New resources and transmission projects have recently been brought into service to support the scheduled removal of coal-fired capacity and to ensure Ontario can meet its future supply needs. Once the refurbished Bruce nuclear units and other new generation and transmission projects are placed in service and demonstrate reliable operations, Ontario will be in a good position to continue eliminating coal-fired generation from the system.
"The heat waves we experienced this summer allowed us to test our ability to operate the power system with a changing supply mix," said Bruce Campbell, Vice-President of Resource Integration at the IESO. "Integrating these new units into our day-to-day operations requires the development of new tools and processes. It's a complex undertaking but we're making good progress for the future, when renewable resources will play an even greater role in meeting Ontario's supply needs."
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.sep2012.