The next 18 months will see a significant amount of renewable energy integrated into Ontario's bulk power system, according to the latest 18-month outlook from the province's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).
During that period, the IESO is expecting more than 3,200 MW of renewable capacity to be connected to the transmission system, including Ontario's first two transmission grid-connected solar projects, located in Haldimand County and Elgin County. By August 2014, total wind and solar generation connected to the province's transmission and distribution systems is expected to reach approximately 6,800 MW and produce approximately 14.9 TWh of energy annually.
Preparations for these changes began several years ago and are now starting to yield results in the areas of forecasting and visibility, the IESO adds. The next element – dispatch of grid-connected renewable resources – is planned to be in place within the forecast period. This is expected to give the IESO a necessary tool to help manage the system efficiently and reliably.
‘Integrating renewable resources into Ontario's changing supply mix has been a learning process for both us and the renewable generators,’ says Bruce Campbell, vice president of resource integration. ‘Everything we've learned will be applied in the coming months as wind and solar gain even more prominence on the grid.’
Meanwhile, progress continues to be made in removing coal-fired generation from the supply mix in Ontario. The remaining generating units at Lambton and Nanticoke are scheduled to stop burning coal by the end of 2013, and the conversion of Atikokan generating station from a coal-fired unit to biomass is underway, with the unit expected to be in service by the third quarter of 2014.