IESO: Reliability outlook positive for Ontario

- The outlook for Ontario's bulk electricity grid continues to be positive in the near term, the Independent Electricity System Operator IESO said in its latest 18-Month Outlook. The report anticipates adequate resources to meet demand throughout the summer of 2014.

Approximately 3,100 megawatts MW of new generation is expected to come online during the report timeframe, almost all of it transmission-connected renewable generation. This follows the recent retirement of nearly 2,000 MW of coal-fired generation removed from the system in December 2013 when the remaining units at Nanticoke Generating Station ceased operation.

Meanwhile, demand on the bulk electricity system is expected to remain flat, as economic and population growth is mitigated by demand response, conservation and expanded embedded wind and solar generation. During the outlook period, embedded generation will nearly double, rising to an estimated 2,500 MW. While embedded generation does not reduce end-use consumption, it reduces the need for grid-supplied energy. In particular, solar generation contributes to lower summer peaks.

Demand response is another factor working to reduce summer peaks. Large industrial consumers are playing a large role in that, by reducing their use on what are expected to be the five peak days of the year. Together, various demand management efforts reduced peak demand by an average 1,200 MW during peak days last summer – with similar outcomes expected during the summer periods.

"The IESO's role, as system operator, is to ensure reliability by keeping the grid in balance, regardless of circumstances," said Bruce Campbell, President and Chief Executive Officer of the IESO. "That balancing process starts months – and years – ahead, including through our forecasts and assessments in reports like the 18 Month Outlook."

The IESO issues 18-Month Outlook reports every three months. The reports assess the reliability and operability of Ontario's power system. They are designed to advise market participants about reliability issues, assess potential adverse conditions that might be avoided through adjustment or coordination of maintenance plans and report on initiatives being put in place to improve reliability.


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