The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) today released the semi-annual Ontario Reliability Outlook reporting on progress of the inter-related generation, transmission and demand management projects underway to maintain reliability of the province's power system.

The report outlines changes that have been made in the IESO planning assumptions to better recognize the growing impacts that hot summer weather puts on demand and resources. Hot weather conditions last summer produced a record peak demand of 26,160 MW while hydroelectric resources to meet demand were 1.7 million MWh below forecast as a result of drought-like conditions throughout much of the province.

As a result of the change in planning assumptions, there is a 2500 to 3000 MW overall increase to forecast resource requirements over that previously identified.

The IESO report identifies the need for significant delays in the provincial government's coal replacement schedule given the need for additional resources and because of delays in bringing replacement generation in service.

"As we experienced last summer and more recently last month, hot weather conditions are resulting in record demands and lower than forecast hydroelectric production, increasing the strain on the power system," said Dave Goulding, IESO president and CEO. "Addressing these impacts will require a significant delay in the shutdown of both the Lambton and Nanticoke coal-fired generating stations."

The report notes that the Lambton shutdown is also affected by delays in bringing approximately 1600 MW of replacement power on-line in the Sarniaarea. Approval processes related to obtaining project and site approvals for the proposed replacement generating facilities have delayed construction and pushed back the in-service dates.

"Further analysis is required to determine the extent of the delays required and when the coal-fired units can be put on reserve and eventually removed from service," said Goulding.

The report also notes that progress has been made in dealing with a number of the reliability issues raised by the IESO in the February Ontario Reliability Outlook, including action taken to address overloading concerns in central Toronto in the summer of 2008.

The outlook for the summer of 2006 has improved compared to last summer. More than 600 MW of nuclear, gas-fired and hydro-electric generation and more than 200 MW of wind generation has been installed since last summer.

Transmission enhancements are required over the next decade. A new transmission line is needed to reliably deliver refurbished nuclear and planned new wind generation from the Bruce area. The Bruce peninsula is emerging as a preferred location to site future renewable wind capacity.