The next 18 months will see a significant amount of renewable energy integrated into Ontario's bulk power system, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) says in its latest 18-Month Outlook.
During that period, the IESO is expecting more than 3,200 megawatts (MW) of renewable capacity to be connected to the transmission system, including Ontario's first two transmission grid-connected solar projects, located in Haldimand County and Elgin County. By August 2014, total wind and solar generation connected to the province's transmission and distribution systems is expected to reach approximately 6,800 MW and produce approximately 14.9 terawatt-hours (TWh) of energy annually.
Preparations for these changes began several years ago, and are now starting to yield results in the areas of forecasting and visibility. The next element - dispatch of grid-connected renewable resources - is planned to be in place within the forecast period, and will give the IESO a necessary tool to help manage the system efficiently and reliably.
"Integrating renewable resources into Ontario's changing supply mix has been a learning process for both us and the renewable generators," said Bruce Campbell, Vice-President of Resource Integration. "Everything we've learned will be applied in the coming months as wind and solar gain even more prominence on the grid."
Ontario will continue to have adequate generation and transmission capability to meet consumers' needs over the next 18 months.
Progress continues to be made in removing coal-fired generation from the supply mix in Ontario. The remaining generating units at Lambton and Nanticoke are scheduled to stop burning coal by the end of 2013 and the conversion of Atikokan generating station from a coal-fired unit to biomass is underway, with the unit expected to be in service by the third quarter of 2014.
Ontario continues to experience growth in both embedded generation capacity and participation in conservation initiatives. Conservation reduces end-use consumption while embedded generation offsets it, both leading to a reduction in wholesale demand measured by the IESO. These two factors combined will more than offset any positive impacts from population growth and economic expansion, leading to an overall decline in electricity consumption as measured at the wholesale level, where energy demand is forecast to decrease by 0.6 per cent in 2013 after a 0.4 per cent increase seen in 2012.
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.feb2013.