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Overview of the 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan

Posted in Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator, Ontario Ministry of Energy, Power, Regulation
George VeghZachary MasoudBrianne Paulin

On October 26, 2017, the Ministry of Energy released Ontario’s revised 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan (“LTEP”), Delivering Fairness and Choice. The previous LTEP was published in 2013 (“2013 LTEP”).

This blog provides a summary of the resources addressed in the LTEP. An accompanying piece found here provides an analysis of the Directives issued by the government to the IESO and the OEB respecting implementation plans by those agencies.

Renewable Energy

The LTEP highlights that between 2026 and 2035, contracts for over 4,800 MW of wind energy, 2,100 MW of solar energy, and 1,200 MW of hydroelectric generation will expire. In September 2017, Ontario announced the results of the final Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) procurement, totaling 390 contracts for small-scale renewable representing a total capacity of 150 MW.

Currently, there is 4,800 MW of installed wind power capacity. As for solar, Ontario now has about 2,300 MW of capacity online. In 2015, 23% of Ontario’s total generation came from hydroelectric facilities and has about 8,800 MW of installed capacity.

Nuclear Power

In the LTEP, Ontario confirmed its plan to move forward with the refurbishment of ten nuclear units, four at Darlington and six at Bruce, between 2016 and 2033 as previously outlined in the 2013 LTEP. Refurbishing these 10 units will secure more than 9,800 MW of capacity. The first unit to be refurbished at Darlington was completed in April 2017. The refurbishment of Darlington is expected to inject $90 billion to Ontario’s economy and increase employment by an average of 14,200 jobs annually. As for Bruce Power, the first unit’s refurbishment date was pushed back from 2016 to 2020, which saved $1.7 billion for electricity consumers. The refurbishment of Bruce power is expected to contribute up to $4 billion in the economy and increase employment by an average of 22,000 jobs annually.

The Pickering Nuclear Generating Station will continue to be operated until 2024, saving up to $600 million for electricity consumers, at which time it will be decommissioned.

Innovation and Energy Storage

Since the 2013 LTEP, Ontario has procured 50 MW of different types of energy storage and supported energy storage projects through the Smart Grid Fund. An IESO study published in 2016 found that energy storage facilities can provide essential services to ensure that the electricity system operation is reliable. Ontario has also studied and identified market barriers for energy storage technologies. The LTEP notes Ontario’s plan to update regulations, which includes addressing how the global adjustment is charged for energy storage projects. As part of the LTEP, Ontario has directed the OEB and the IESO to review its rules and regulations that may create barriers for the development of energy storage.

Other initiatives include Ontario’s plan to modernize the grid through a digital grid, which allows customers and utilities to make the right decisions related to consumption of electricity. Ontario is also studying projects in several jurisdictions that are piloting transactive energy and blockchains in order to develop projects of such kind in Ontario. Another project aims at ensuring greater reliability and quality of service for transmitters and distributors in order to improve reliability for consumers. The IESO has been directed by Ontario to develop a competitive selection or procurement process for transmission to identify potential pilot projects. In the LTEP, Ontario is also proposing to expand net metering to allow more homeowners to access energy storage technologies.