Ontario Minister of Energy Todd Smith has directed the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to proceed with procuring up to 2,500 MW of new energy storage and other non-emitting resources to meet the province’s rapidly growing energy system needs.
“Energy storage will help to enable more effective integration of the province’s generation resources while enhancing energy system resiliency and flexibility, and it can be quickly and safely deployed exactly where it can offer the greatest locational value to the grid,” says Brandy Giannetta, the Canadian Renewable Energy Association’s (CanREA) vice president of policy, regulatory and government affairs.
With the province’s supply of critical minerals, a growing battery manufacturing sector, and companies and institutions at the forefront of energy storage research and innovation, Ontario is poised to be a leader in energy storage for many years to come.
“As Ontario’s electricity demand continues to grow over the coming decade, we must ensure that energy storage capacity is able to charge from low-cost, non-emitting electricity,” states Giannetta. “As the lowest-cost generation technologies, new wind and solar generation will be key to meeting future supply needs affordably while protecting Ontario’s clean electricity advantage.”
Ontario’s electricity demand is projected to increase by approximately 15% over the next decade, reaching 168 million MWh by 2032. This sustained increase is driven by strong economic and population growth, coupled with the rapid electrification of transportation and industry.
At the same time, the upcoming retirement of the Pickering nuclear plant (approximately 14% of the province’s electricity supply) means that after many years of sufficient supply and stable demand, Ontario will soon need a significant volume of new generation capacity to maintain a safe and reliable electricity system.
Today, the Ontario electricity supply is approximately 90% non-emitting, thanks to the contributions of hydro, nuclear, wind and solar power. Maintaining this clean electricity advantage into the future will be essential, both to achieve the province’s emissions reduction objectives and to ensure that Ontario businesses remain globally competitive, and that Ontario continues to attract new investment in key sectors.
In a 2022 survey of over 300 of Ontario’s largest energy consumers, 85% reported either having implemented or planning to implement corporate clean electricity targets.