Watchdog report indicates Ontario's power supply is secure

Jul 03, 2001 02:00 AM

A new report by Ontario's electricity watchdog indicates the province's power supply is secure for the next decade, even if only 50 % of proposed new generation goes online. About 6,000 MW of new power have been submitted for approval to the Independent Electricity Market Operator, or IMO, for completion within the next five years. However, the market operator's latest 10-year forecast indicates annual demand will increase by about half that much.
"Ontario will need 2,000 MW to 3,000 MW in the second half of the forecast period to continue to have a secure electricity supply," IMO spokesman Kevin Dove said. The province's power needs are expected to grow at a 1.2 % rate for the next 10 years, or to about 168 TeraWatts in an average economic growth scenario, from 149.9 TW.
The demand could be substantially offset by electricity imports from neighbouring provinces or the United States if open market prices are attractive enough, said the IMO in its report. The 112-page document outlines projected growth in provincial power demands and the availability of generating plants, both old and proposed, to meet future needs.

The bulk of proposed new generation are gas-fired, and if built and operated, would represent 21 % of Ontario's electricity by 2005, from about 10 %. Included in the projects are Sithe Canadian Holdings Inc.'s 932-MW and 736-MW projects in the Greater Metropolitan Toronto area, ATCO Power's 578-MW Windsor project, and TransAlta Energy's 490-MW project in Sarnia, which has already broken ground.
"The biggest projects will win out, in our perspective," Dove said. The report's low growth scenario assumes the economy slips into recession at the end of 2001 before recovering in 2004. The high growth scenario assumes much higher sustained growth over the entire forecast period.

Nuclear energy generates the greatest amount of electricity in Ontario, or about 40 % of capacity. The IMO forecast includes Ontario Power Generation's Pickering A, four 542-MW units expected to come back online mid-2002, but not the four 825-MW Bruce A units, operated by Bruce Power and currently off-line.

Source: Dow Jones
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