The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) released one of its most positive 18-month outlook reports on the reliability of Ontario's electricity system since the electricity market opened in 2002.More than 5,000 megawatts (MW) of new and refurbished supply is scheduled to come into service in the next year and a half, almost half of which is well under construction or in commissioning stages. This new generation means Ontario will have sufficient supply to meet demand under normal weather conditions over the forecast period.
The transmission system is also expected to be adequate to reliably supply electricity demands over the next 18 months. A new interconnection between Ontario and Québec will be placed in service in spring 2009, further enhancing reliability. This is the first stage of the project that is scheduled to reach 1,250 MW of capacity by 2010.
"Ontario's electricity supply is in the best shape it has been in for several years," said Ken Kozlik, IESO Chief Operating Officer. "With new generation coming on-line and conservation and demand management programs helping out, Ontario is well positioned to meet its electricity needs in the months to come," said Kozlik.
The improving resource picture means that some long duration maintenance outages that previously had to be squeezed into the fall and spring can now continue into the winter. Summer peak periods, typically driven by heavy air conditioning use, require most, if not all, Ontario resources to be available to meet expected peak and energy demands.
At a local level, reliability within the Greater Toronto Area for summer 2009 is expected to be adequate as new facilities are incorporated. However, in the York Region, the delivery capability in the Newmarket and Aurora area has been exceeded due to growth in electricity use. A new transformer station is planned to be in service in the middle of 2009 and procurement of additional local generation is being sought.