Report: Ontario On The Brink Of Energy Crisis

A startling report from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), an electricity regulator, warns that Ontario is teetering on the edge of an energy crisis if heat waves persist this summer.

Shockingly, Ontario is the sole Canadian region identified as being at an “elevated risk” of energy shortfalls in the recent May summer reliability assessment. The report unveils a concerning trend, signaling that accommodating generation and transmission outages in the province will become increasingly challenging.

The NERC report highlights several contributing factors to Ontario’s vulnerable state. Planned outages stemming from nuclear plant refurbishments have significantly reduced the province’s electricity supply resources. Furthermore, the escalating demand in the Windsor-Essex area may outstrip the available supply, leaving the region with an inadequate energy provision.

Despite these concerns, the report offers a glimmer of hope, suggesting that Ontario could rely on imports and outage management strategies for an extended period, spanning both normal and extreme weather conditions. Tom Chapman, an esteemed energy economist from The Brattle Group, acknowledges a slightly heightened risk of energy shortages due to generated outages and potential adverse weather.

“We will almost certainly be okay. There really is not any cause to be alarmed,” he said. “It’s the system operators doing their prudent planning and making sure they’re putting everything in place to ensure that there isn’t a localized grid outage.”

Chapman points out the significant progress Ontario has made since the notorious summer of 2003 when a colossal power outage plunged not only the province but also parts of the United States into darkness. He cites the bolstered supply of renewable, nuclear, and hydro-electric power sources as testament to the province’s enhanced energy landscape. Additionally, he underscores the province’s collaborative partnerships and capacity to purchase power from neighboring regions, should the need arise.

However, not everyone shares Chapman’s optimism. Peter Tabuns, a member of the New Democratic Party, places partial blame on funding cuts to renewable projects by the Progressive Conservative government for the concerning conclusions of the summer assessment. Tabuns expresses his worry that Ontario, as the only province in Canada rated with an elevated risk of not meeting peak demand, may face further outages due to increasing extreme weather events.

In response to these criticisms, Minister of Energy Todd Smith defends the province’s energy system, asserting that it is 90% clean and attracting investments from around the world. Smith proudly touts Ontario’s grid as the envy of all North American jurisdictions, emphasizing its cleanliness, affordability, reliability, and safety.

The NERC report also raises concerns about an ongoing transmission outage at the interconnection between New York and St. Lawrence, potentially impacting Ontario’s energy imports and exports. Fortunately, authorities anticipate resolving this issue by the end of the year.

Recently, southern and central Ontario endured a multi-day heat event, with temperatures skyrocketing to approximately 31°C before considering the humidex. These extreme weather conditions only serve to underscore the pressing need for vigilance and preparedness in managing the province’s energy supply.

Ontario stands at the precipice of an energy crisis as heat waves threaten to push the province into blackouts this summer. While experts remain cautiously optimistic, the challenges posed by planned outages, increasing demand, and the potential transmission outage call for continued attention and proactive measures to ensure a stable and reliable energy supply throughout the season.

Information for this briefing was found via CP24, NERC, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

One thought on “Report: Ontario On The Brink Of Energy Crisis

  • June 7, 2023 10:36 AM at 10:36 am

    Could you ask the energy minister how he can assert that the province’s energy system is 90% clean when on peak demand shows more than a third is generated from petroleum and methane gas?


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