Ontario expects 3,100 MW new power generation over next 18 months

Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:52pm EST

Feb 28 (Reuters) - Ontario's power grid operator said Friday about 3,100 megawatts (MW) of new generation is expected to come online over the next 18 months, almost all of it renewable generation.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) also said in a report it expects the province will have enough resources to meet power demand this summer even though nearly 2,000 MW of coal-fired generation retired in December.

One megawatt can power about 1,000 homes.

The IESO forecast demand for power will remain flat over the next 18 months, as economic and population growth is mitigated by demand response, conservation and distributed generation.

In demand response, customers reduce power usage when requested, usually for some form of compensation. The IESO said demand management can reduce peak usage by an average 1,200 MW.

While distributed generation, like rooftop solar panels, does not reduce consumption of electricity, the IESO noted it does reduce the need for the grid to supply energy to consumers especially during the peak summer days when the sun is out and solar works best.

The IESO said the province's distributed generation would nearly double over the next 18 months to about 2,500 MW.

The biggest power companies in Ontario include the province-owned Ontario Power Generation and Hydro One energy companies, and units of investor-owned TransCanada Corp , TransAlta Corp, Brookfield Asset Management Inc, Atco Ltd and Calpine Corp.

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