Ontario long-term energy plan 2017 targets market renewal

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Canadian province of Ontario has released an updated long-term energy plan. The report, Delivering Fairness and Choice: Ontario's Long-Term Energy Plan 2017, notes the province's recent energy policy successes, and suggests that market restructuring underway by the grid operator could save ratepayers up to $5.2 billion CAD over a 10-year period.

Ontario first published a Long-Term Energy Plan in 2010, and updated the plan in 2013. The 2017 plan includes a recognition of recent investment the province has made in the province's electricity system -- nearly $70 billion since 2003. Investment focuses included reliability improvements, the elimination of coal-fired generation, and the addition of clean generation, yielding an electricity system that the province describes as more than 90 per cent free of greenhouse gas emissions.

The 2017 plan also notes that the province's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has launched a "Market Renewal" program to restructure Ontario's electricity markets. Under Market Renewal, IESO plans to make a series of market changes to enable the province to more efficiently meet demand over the near and longer terms, including introducing a day-ahead market, enhancing real-time unit commitment, improving intertie scheduling, and implementing an incremental capacity auction.

According to the plan, the Market Renewal program forms a key component of the government’s plan to bring down the cost of electricity, and could save up to $5.2 billion between 2021 and 2030. Other overarching themes in Ontario's 2017 long-term energy plan include ensuring affordable and accessible energy, ensuring a flexible energy system, innovating to meet the future, improving value and performance for consumers, strengthening the province's commitment to energy conservation and efficiency, responding to the challenge of climate change, supporting First Nation and Metis capacity and leadership, and supporting regional solutions and infrastructure.

FERC Winter 2017-18 Energy Market Assessment

Monday, October 30, 2017

A recent report by U.S. energy regulators notes that newly built natural gas-fired and renewable power plants are replacing retiring coal and nuclear power plants, which can require grid operators to take extra steps to ensure electric system reliability.

On October 19, 2017, enforcement staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission delivered their Winter 2017-18 Energy Market Assessment.  According to that report, recent years have seen natural gas-fired plant additions in several parts of the country, replacing retirements of coal and nuclear capacity.  Meanwhile, most recent capacity additions have been natural gas-fired or renewable.

FERC enforcement staff also noted that these changes to the portfolio of generating resources making up the capacity mix can affect fuel diversity and system reliability.