Ontario — The Ontario government has directed the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to acquire 4,000 MW of new electricity generation and storage resources to ensure the province has the electricity it needs to support a growing population and economy.
“Our government is building the electricity generation and storage needed to support our success in driving electrification and attracting new jobs to the province including unprecedented investments, from electric vehicles and battery manufacturing to clean steelmaking,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. “Saying no to jobs and investment is a non-starter for our government. An unreliable system with brownouts and blackouts is a non-starter for our government. With today’s actions we are ensuring that the electricity will continue to be there for families and businesses when they flip the switch.”
Ontario has been operating with an electricity surplus for over a decade, and the province says supply will continue to meet demand until at least 2025 without new build electricity resources.
The IESO’s Annual Planning Outlook, released in 2021, forecasts a need for new electricity resources, beginning in 2025 and 2026, and that the need will continue to grow thereafter.
To ensure reliability and keep costs down for people and businesses, Ontario is proceeding with its plan, first detailed last year, to procure new electricity generation and storage through a competitive process. These procurements will acquire the 4,000 MW of capacity necessary, including at least 1,500 MW of stand-alone energy storage resources, up to 1,500 MW of natural gas generation, with the remainder coming from other resources.
The province says its acting on the expert advice of the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator whose Resource Eligibility Interim Report says: “Without a limited amount of new natural gas in the near term the IESO would be reliant on emergency actions such as conservation appeals and rotating blackouts to stabilize the grid.”
This procurement of at least 1,500 MW of energy storage represents the largest battery procurement in Canada’s history.
“Our government is building an integrated supply chain for critical minerals in Ontario as we become a leader in battery manufacturing,” said George Pirie, Minister of Mines. “Energy system reliability and affordability is essential so that Ontario mines can continue to competitively produce the critical minerals we need for battery manufacturing and other technologies that support the transition to a clean economy.”