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Ontario’s IESO marking “major milestone” with new dispatch tool


September 3, 2013
By Anthony Capkun

September 3, 2013 – Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) says it will mark a major milestone with the introduction of a new dispatch tool for all grid-connected wind resources.

The ability to dispatch wind, scheduled to take effect September 11, 2013, comes at a pivotal point in Ontario’s transition to a more sustainable fuel mix, says IESO, adding that, by February 2015, an expected 7400MW of wind and solar power will be connected across the distribution and transmission networks.

“IESO is constantly looking for ways to improve the efficient operation of the province’s electricity market while promoting continued reliable supply,” said Bruce Campbell, IESO president and CEO. “The dispatch of variable generation—wind and soon solar—will help reliably and efficiently integrate the growing fleet of variable generators into our system.”

This new capability adds an important lever to the reliable operation of the bulk power system, explains IESO, giving operators another source of flexibility to meet ramping requirements as demand for electricity increases and decreases over the day, and to manage surplus baseload generation.

The dispatch will apply to 1725MW of existing transmission-connected wind resources as well as an estimated 3000MW and 280MW of transmission-connected wind and solar, respectively, expected to come into service over the next 18 months. Distribution-based wind and solar facilities, forecast to total almost 2400MW during this period, will not be subject to grid dispatch, but the output from those facilities will now be visible to IESO’s system operators.

Other new supply to be added to the system includes the conversion of the former Atikokan coal facility to biomass, and 223MW of hydroelectric capacity coming from the Lower Mattagami expansion project.

This outlook period also includes the final stage of the coal-fired generation shutdown, says IESO, with about 3000MW of supply being taken out of service. The remaining coal-fired units at Lambton and Nanticoke will cease operations by the end of this year. The Thunder Bay facility is currently slated to stop burning coal by no later than the end of 2014.