Replacing coal fired power generation in Ontario will represent the single largest greenhouse gas reduction initiative in North America according to IESO the equivalent to taking almost seven million cars off the roads.
10,000 MW of new generation or demand management is in service or planned, comprising of refurbishment of nuclear power facilities, additional natural gas generation, energy production efficiency initiatives and over 1,400 MW of renewable generation mostly through wind energy, solar power and biomass projects to be in place by 2011.
Ontario now leads Canada in wind power capacity, with over 700 megawatts of installed wind turbines, and more on the way. Between January and November 2008, over 1 terawatt hours of wind driven electricity was generated. The province is aiming to have over a gigawatt of wind power capacity up and running by the end of this year.
The intermittent nature of wind power makes it difficult to forecast generation in Ontario with certainty. For example, wind output on December 2, 2008 rose to 617 MW. By contrast, wind production reached a low of just 2 MW on July 19, 2008, a hot and windless day.
An IESO snapshot of fuels used to meet electricity demand on January 6 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Ontario show the following:
Nuclear: 10047 MW
Hydro: 5522 MW
Gas: 2273 MW
Coal: 2940 MW
Wind: 357 MW
Other: 153 MW
In the above figures, only 13.8% of Ontario's power was derived from coal-fired generation. According to the Australian Coal Association, black and brown coal accounts for over 85 per cent of Australias electric power.