Nearly 2600 MW of new and refurbished supply is scheduled to come into service over the next 18 months, resulting in a positive outlook for the reliability of Ontario's electricity system, said the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in its latest 18-Month Outlook.

Comprising wind, water, nuclear, gas and biomass facilities, most of these projects are well under construction or in commissioning stages. When complete, they will supply communities across the province, and displace more carbon-intensive fuel sources.

"Ontario has more electricity supply options today than ever before," said Bruce Campbell, VP of Resource Integration at Ontario's IESO. "Over the next 18 months we should see high levels of reliability."

Two refurbished nuclear units at the Bruce Power plant are scheduled to return to service in the first and third quarters of 2011, though some of this supply will be constrained until the Bruce-to-Milton transmission line is completed, along with other transmission enhancements.

The early shutdown of four coal-fired units — two units at Lambton and two units at Nanticoke for a reduction of 2,000 MW of generating capacity — is planned for late 2010 but will have no undue impacts on energy adequacy or reliability in Ontario.

Over the next 18 months, demand for electricity in Ontario will continue to be affected by three main factors: the economy, conservation and embedded generation. To date, the economic recovery has had little effect on demand, but consumption is expected to show very modest growth in 2010 and 2011 with annual increases of 0.2% and 0.9% respectively, driven mostly by increased activity in the manufacturing sector. Peak demand, on the other hand, is expected to decline as a result of targeted conservation programs and the deployment of smart meters and time-of-use rates for residential and small business customers.