Ontario’s Minister of Energy (the Minister) today announced the release of the province’s “Powering Ontario’s Growth” plan (the Plan). The Plan outlines the actions Ontario expects to take to meet increasing demand for electricity supported by strong economic growth and electrification over the next two decades. The Plan notes that Ontario may need to increase its electricity generating capacity from the current 42,000 MW to 88,000 MW by 2050, in addition to replacing 20,000 MW of generation capacity over the same time period. This bulletin briefly highlights Ontario’s planned actions.
Current actions. The Plan provides the following actions that Ontario is currently undertaking to meet increasing demand:
- Nuclear Energy. Ontario in continuing work on the refurbishment of the Darlington and Bruce Nuclear Generating Stations, which together will secure 10,050 MW of generation capacity. In addition, Ontario is supporting the continued operation of the Pickering Nuclear Generations Station and has directed Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to update its feasibility assessment for the refurbishment of Pickering “B” to continue operating beyond 2026.
- Competitive Procurements for New Build Electricity Generation and Storage. The Minister has directed the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to acquire 4,000 MW of new electricity generation and storage resources through competitive procurements, targeting 2,500 MW of stand-alone energy storage resources and a maximum of 1,500 MW of natural gas generation.
- Energy Efficiency Program Enhancements. Ontario has increased funding for energy-efficiency programs by $34M, bringing total funding to more than $1B over the current 2021-2024 Conservation and Demand Management framework period.
- Re-Contracting Ontario’s Small Hydroelectric Stations. The Minister has asked the IESO to design a Small Hydro Program to recontract existing facilities whose current agreements are coming to an end.
- Transmission Expansion. Ontario has issued an Order-in-Council declaring three transmission line projects in London, Windsor, and Sarnia as provincial priorities, streamlining the regulatory approval process for these lines so projects can be brought online earlier.
- Hydrogen Strategy. Ontario is advancing work to develop the Niagara Hydrogen Centre. This project would increase the amount of low-carbon hydrogen produced in Ontario by eight times by using excess water at Niagara Falls. Ontario also launched the Hydrogen Innovation Fund that will invest $15M over the next three years to develop opportunities for hydrogen and hydrogen storage to be integrated into the electricity system.
Long-term actions. The Plan provides the following actions for Ontario to meet electricity demand over the long-term:
- Nuclear Energy. Ontario is advancing reliable, affordable and clean nuclear power through pre-development work at Bruce Power and three additional small modular reactors at Darlington.
- Competitive Procurements. Ontario is starting to plan for the next long-term competitive procurement of non-emitting electricity resources including wind, solar, hydroelectric, batteries and biogas.
- New Transmission Infrastructure. Ontario is designating and prioritizing three new transmission lines that will power Algoma Steel and job creators in Northern Ontario, and one new transmission line to power growth in the Ottawa region and across Eastern Ontario.
- Hydroelectric Power. OPG will be tasked with optimizing hydroelectric generation from current sites and working with IESO to assess two proposed pumped hydroelectric storage projects in Marmora and Meaford to improve grid efficiency.
- Keeping Costs Down. Ontario will start planning for the future of energy efficiency programming to help reduce demand and supporting the deployment of distributed energy resources (DER) such as rooftop solar and the EV batteries.
- Planning for Future Transmission. The IESO will identify and report back to the Minister with transmission options to address system bottlenecks between Toronto and northern Ontario, and into downtown Toronto, to enable growth.
The Minister noted that the above actions will “advance a diverse supply mix, positioning Ontario to support electrification and energy affordability while competing for international investments which are looking for jurisdictions that provide access to clean, reliable electricity.”