The outlook for the reliability of Ontario's electricity system remains positive for the next 18 months, according to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).
The IESO anticipates that there is adequate generation and transmission to supply Ontario's demand to cover the time frame from July through December 2016.
According to the IESO, nearly 2.2 GW of new supply – mostly wind and solar generation – will be added to the province's transmission grid over the outlook period.
By the end of the period, the amount of grid-connected wind generation is expected to increase by 1.5 GW to about 4.5 GW. The total distribution-connected wind generation over the same period is expected to be about 700 MW. Meanwhile, grid-connected solar generation is expected to increase to 380 MW, complementing the embedded solar generation capacity of about 2,200 MW located within distribution networks, by the end of the outlook period.
In May, the IESO signed a 500 MW seasonal firm capacity sharing agreement with Hydro Quebec Energy Marketing. The agreement takes advantage of the provinces' complementary seasonal peaks – Ontario summer and Quebec winter – to support reliability and will be in effect for up to 10 years, starting December, with Ontario supplying 500 MW of capacity to Quebec for the next two winter seasons.
With more typical summer weather expected this year, Ontario will return to experiencing annual peaks in the summer, which could reach as high as 24,700 MW under extreme weather conditions. However, the Industrial Conservation Initiative, the growing embedded generation output and the impacts of conservation will continue to put downward pressure on summer peaks, mitigating any demand increases from a growing population and an expanding economy.
Ontario will continue to experience surplus baseload generation conditions during the outlook period due to new generation coming online, as well as a decline in demand on the transmission grid due to conservation and embedded, local generation. Existing market mechanisms will be sufficient to manage these conditions.