The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) says Ontario is well positioned to meet demand for electricity under normal weather conditions over the next 18 months.

The IESO's latest 18-Month Outlook forecasts generally high levels of reliability for Ontario's power system, assuming normal weather conditions. There is nearly 4,700 MW of new and refurbished supply scheduled to come into service over the outlook period. Much of this generation is either under construction or commissioning.

"Transmission expansions, new generation and an additional link with Quebec further strengthen Ontario's power grid," said Ken Kozlik, chief operating officer of the IESO. "Investment in Ontario is resulting in a younger and more environmentally sustainable generation fleet."

The transmission system is expected to be adequate to meet Ontario's needs over the next 18 months. Ontario's import capability is planned to increase as of this summer, with the addition of a new interconnection between Ontario and Quebec, which will ramp up to its full 1,250 MW capability by summer, 2010. The capability to move energy from the Bruce area to highly populated areas will also increase throughout the outlook period as transmission reinforcements are completed before two refurbished Bruce units are brought into operation in 2010.

Over the next 18 months, both peak and energy demand are expected to decline. In the near term, the economy will have a downward impact on demand. In the latter part of the forecast, growth in conservation and embedded generation are expected to override the upward pressure on demand from the economic recovery.