Ontario IESO outlines new power plants due for operation in next 18 months

New initiatives such as the first demand response (DR) auction will help Ontario’s electricity system remain reliable over the next 18 months, according to the latest report from the Canadian province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).

The latest 18-Month Outlook report, which covers the period from January 2016 to June 2017 and was released on Dec. 15, also forecasts that there is adequate generation and transmission to supply Ontario’s demand.

For the upcoming winter, peak demands will see downward pressure from conservation and lighting efficiency improvements in particular. Energy demand is expected to decline this year as conservation savings and distribution-connected generation will more than offset any growth from economic expansion or population growth.

The recently announced results from the DR auction will contribute DR capacity of 391.5 MW for 2016 summer season and 403.7 MW for 2016-17 winter season.

“Ontario continues to have adequate resources to meet consumers’ needs over the next 18 months,” said Kim Warren, IESO’s Vice-President of Market and System Operations. “The combination of conservation and time-of-use rates will continue to have a role in reducing demand through the upcoming winter season.”

About 1,850 MW of new supply – 1,300 MW of wind, 300 MW of gas and 240 MW of solar – 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 and solar is expected to increase to about 4,550 MW and 380 MW, respectively. The distribution-connected wind generation over the same period is expected to increase to about 700 MW and distribution-connected solar generation is expected to increase to about 2,150 MW.

As part of the IESO-Hydro Quebec seasonal capacity sharing agreement, Ontario will make 500 MW available to Quebec in the winters of 2015-16 and 2016-17. The IESO has the option to call on up to 500 MW of capacity from Quebec for summer seasons; no request was made for the summer of 2016.

In early December, the IESO announced that it had updated its contract with Bruce Power. The new agreement will enable the refurbishment of six nuclear units while cost-effectively securing 6,300 MW of baseload capacity. The timeline will see refurbishment start at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in 2020. Off-ramps have been built into the agreement to enable the cancellation of future refurbishments if the cost exceeds a pre-defined amount. The agreement adheres to the 2013 Long-Term Energy Plan refurbishment principles and ensures that operating and refurbishment execution risks reside with Bruce Power.

At the end of November 2015, nine energy storage projects totaling 16.75 MW were offered 10-year contracts as part of the Phase II energy storage competitive procurement process. This complements the approximately 34 MW of storage procured in Phase 1 by the IESO to offer ancillary services to support increased reliability and efficiency of the grid. These procurements support the province’s efforts to better understand the integration of energy storage into Ontario’s electricity system and market.

Ontario will continue to experience surplus baseload generation (SBG) conditions during the 18-month outlook period. The magnitude of SBG is trending higher with the addition of new renewable generation and decline in grid demand due to conservation and distribution-connected generation. 

The following generators completed the market registration process as of Nov. 13, 2015:

  • Goulais Wind Farm – 25 MW; and
  • Thunder Bay Condensing Turbine – 40 MW.

As part of the Lower Mattagami hydro project that was completed in 2014, the existing Smoky Falls facility was replaced with a new three-unit station. As a result, the old Smoky Falls units (53 MW) were deregistered.

New capacity, mostly from wind projects, getting ready for commercial starts

The update offers a lit of committed and contracted generation resources, not including in-service facilities. The milestones used are: Under Development – includes projects in approvals and permitting stages (e.g. environmental assessment, municipal approvals, IESO connection assessment approvals etc.) and projects under construction: Commissioning – the project is undergoing commissioning tests with the IESO; and Commercial Operation – the project has achieved commercial operation under the contract criteria but has not met all the market registration requirements of the IESO.

  • K2 Wind Project, Bruce Zone, Wind, Commercial Operation, 270 MW Firm, 270 MW Planned;
  • Bow Lake Phase 1, Northeast Zone, Wind, Commercial Operation, 20 MW Firm, 20 MW Planned;
  • Bow Lake Phase 2b, Northeast Zone, Wind, Commercial Operation, 40 MW Firm, 40 MW Planned;
  • Kingston Solar Project, East Zone, Solar, Commercial Operation, 100 MW Firm, 100 MW Planned;
  • Northland Power Solar Empire, Northeast Zone, Solar, 2015-Q4 Commissioning, 10 MW Planned;
  • Cedar Point Wind Power Project Phase II, Southwest Zone, Wind, 2015-Q4 Commissioning, 100 MW Planned;
  • Northland Power Solar Abitibi, Northeast Zone, Solar, 2015-Q4 Commissioning, 10 MW Planned;
  • Northland Power Solar Martin’s Meadows, Northeast Zone, Solar, 2015-Q4 Commissioning, 10 MW Planned;
  • Northland Power Solar Long Lake, Northeast Zone, Solar, 2015-Q4 Commissioning, 10 MW Planned;
  • Grand Valley Wind Farms (Phase 3), Southwest Zone, Wind, 2015-Q4 Commissioning, 40 MW Planned;
  • Armow Wind Project, Southwest Zone, Wind, 2015-Q4 Commissioning, 180 MW Planned;
  • White Pines Wind Farm, East Zone, Wind, 2016-Q2 Under Development, 60 MW Planned;
  • Niagara Region Wind Farm, Southwest Zone, Wind, 2016-Q2 Under Development, 230 MW Planned;
  • Grand Bend Wind Farm, Southwest Zone, Wind, 2016-Q2 Under Development, 99 MW Planned;
  • Green Electron Power Project, West Zone, Gas, 2016-Q2 Under Developmen, 298 MW Planned;
  • Amherst Island Wind Project, East Zone, Wind, 2016-Q4 Under Development, 75 MW Planned;
  • Belle River Wind, West Zone, Wind, 2016-Q4 Under Development, 100 MW planned;
  • South Gate Solar, Southwest Zone, Solar, 2016-Q4 Under Development, 50 MW Planned;
  • Windsor Solar, West Zone, Solar, 2016-Q4 Under Development, 50 MW Planned; and
  • North Kent Wind 1, West Zone, Wind, 2016-Q4 Under Development, 100 MW Planned.
About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.