The influx of new wind and other renewable generation is being enabled by steps behind the scenes to ensure the reliable operation of Ontario's electricity system into the future.
In its most recent Ontario Reliability Outlook, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) highlights the progress made in creating a cleaner, more sustainable electricity system and the challenges ahead to manage a new, more variable supply mix.
‘Ontario's electricity system is transforming,’ says Paul Murphy, president and CEO of the IESO. ‘It's becoming more variable, diverse and participatory, with consumers poised to take an increasingly active role in their energy-use decisions. These changes will have a profound impact on the way the province's electricity system will be managed and are requiring the industry to rethink how it provides a reliable electric service.’
The 2009 Ontario Reliability Outlook comes on the heels of the announcement by the Ontario Power Authority of the first wave of applications to its feed-in-tariff (FIT) program. The positive response to the FIT program will accelerate the shift within Ontario's supply mix from larger and flexible power generation to smaller, more numerous renewable sources of energy production. The outlook examines four key areas to the renewal of Ontario's electricity sector:
– Timely and appropriate approval processes are needed to ensure that transmission capabilities are ready in time when new renewable generation comes online;
– As FIT projects come into service, Ontario's current fleet of 1,200 MW in wind capacity will expand significantly, and the IESO is to work with partners to maximize the flexibility of resources to address the increased variability;
– Demand response represents a flexible resource that can have a much greater influence in maintaining system reliability; and
– While new resources are contributing to a positive reliability outlook over the next five years, meeting adequacy requirements beyond 2014 is less certain.