Ontario's power supply outlook positive

- Ontario's positive supply outlook over the next 18 months includes new resources - two refurbished units at the Bruce nuclear station plus the province's first grid-connected solar farm - as well as new tools to effectively integrate renewable resources. The quarterly 18-Month Outlook, released recently by the Independent Electricity System Operator IESO, provides an assessment of the adequacy and reliability of Ontario's bulk power system.

Approximately 2,200 megawatts MW of grid-connected renewable capacity will be added to the system between December 2012 and May 2014, including the completion of Ontario's first transmission-connected solar project, a 100 MW solar farm in Haldimand County. By May 2014, distribution- and transmission-connected wind and solar generation in Ontario is expected to reach approximately 5,500 MW.

The refurbishment and reliable operation of two Bruce nuclear units is an integral requirement for the scheduled elimination of coal-fired capacity. Both Bruce nuclear units have now completed commissioning and once these units have demonstrated sustained reliable performance, Ontario will be in a good position to continue the removal of coal-fired generation from the system.

The IESO is continuing with plans to move to an economic dispatch of variable generation.

Regular day-ahead and pre-dispatch generator scheduling processes now incorporate a centralized forecast of wind output, which has improved the accuracy of forecasted wind production. In time, this forecast will also include Ontario's large solar facilities. By the end of 2013, a five-minute forecast for variable generation will be integrated into the real-time scheduling process and, through the introduction of new market rules, grid-connected variable resources will become fully dispatchable.

"The new tools and processes we're developing are starting to demonstrate their value," said Bruce Campbell, Vice-President of Resource Integration at the IESO. "Renewable resources behave very differently from conventional resources like nuclear and hydroelectric, and we're investing in new technologies to extract maximum benefit from these units."

Energy demand is forecast to decrease by 1.1 in 2013 after a small 0.5 increase in 2012. Factors such as growth in embedded generation capacity, which reduces demand from the bulk power system, and ongoing conservation initiatives will more than offset any impacts from population growth and economic expansion, leading to an overall decline in electricity consumption at the bulk power level.

Peak demands will be similarly impacted by the same factors. In particular, the projected growth in distribution-connected solar capacity will have a significant impact on the apparent summer peak by effectively reducing demand for grid-supplied energy. Additionally, price impacts like time-of-use rates and the Global Adjustment Allocation will continue to have an effect on peak demands, leading to a decline in summer peaks.

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: www.ieso.ca/18-month.outlook.nov2012.

The IESO is responsible for managing Ontario's bulk electricity system and operating the wholesale market. For more information, please visit www.ieso.ca.


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