Minister of Energy Update on Generating Station

Minister Chiarelli overlooking the construction at Smokey Falls Generating Station in Lower Mattagami.
Minister Chiarelli overlooking the construction at Smokey Falls Generating Station in Lower Mattagami.

Minister Chiarelli overlooking the construction at Smokey Falls Generating Station in Lower Mattagami.
Minister Chiarelli overlooking the construction at Smokey Falls Generating Station in Lower Mattagami.

Ontario Generating Station Update from Energy Minister

QUEENS PARK – Ontario Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli is offering some insight into the situation with power in Northwestern Ontario, and the Ontario Power Authority, and Independent Electricity System Operator

The Minister shares his recent communications with the President of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA).  

Dear Mayor Canfield:

Thank you for your email regarding the Thunder Bay Generating Station.

The Ministry of Energy as well as the Ontario Power Authority and Independent Electricity System Operator have been actively involved in consultations with the Common Voice Northwest Energy Task Force.  We value the contribution of the Task Force towards energy planning in the Northwest.[sws_pullquote_right]I am a strong supporter of resource development in Northwestern Ontario and I will ensure the electricity system can facilitate growth. I am confident that a sufficient supply of electricity will be available to those who require it. There is still adequate time to implement solutions that will meet electricity demand growth in the Northwest. [/sws_pullquote_right]

Our priority continues to be ensuring that Northwestern Ontario has a clean, reliable supply of electricity.  The Ontario Power Authority continues to analyze the options that are available to ensure there is enough electricity for the Northwest.

I am a strong supporter of resource development in Northwestern Ontario and I will ensure the electricity system can facilitate growth.  I am confident that a sufficient supply of electricity will be available to those who require it. There is still adequate time to implement solutions that will meet electricity demand growth in the Northwest.

I understand that the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) recently approved the reliability must-run agreement for Thunder Bay Generating Station for 2013.  The OEB determined that the agreement was structured appropriately and complied with Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) license.  We need to be clear that OPG will have to apply to the Independent Electricity System Operator again to determine if the facility will still be required to ensure reliability in 2014.

It is important to note that the analysis which supports the reliability must-run agreement only considered a short-term system outlook, hence the one year term. Considerable resources have been added to the Northwest system recently or will be in the near future.  Resolute FP’s 40 megawatt Thunder Bay Condensing Turbine Project recently came online at the company’s pulp and paper mill and the 205 megawatt Atikokan Generating Station is expected to return to service in 2014. 

It would be incorrect to assume that the 2013 reliability must-run agreement would be renewed in future years due to these generation additions.  While a conversion option remains on the table, alternative approaches must also be considered to determine how to best achieve a stable, reliable and cost-effective supply of electricity in the region. 

Ontario’s new Government remains committed to working with Northerners to ensure that the power that is required is in place when and where it is needed to support the economic expansion expected in the coming years due to mining growth in areas  such as Atikokan, Red Lake, Ear Falls and Pickle Lake.

The OPA’s report on the North of Dryden area is expected to be released on August 16, 2013.  I am optimistic that this will help advance the discussion on supply options for the northwest.

I look forward to the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association’s input to the new Long-Term Energy Plan.  Your contribution to electricity system planning in the northwest is greatly appreciated. 

Thank you again for your email.

Sincerely,

Bob Chiarelli

Minister

c:         Hon. Kathleen Wynne, Premier

            Hon. Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines

            Bill Mauro, MPP, Thunder Bay–Atikokan

            Hon. Glen Murray, Minister of Transportation and Minister of Infrastructure

            His Worship Keith Hobbs, Mayor, City of Thunder Bay

            Harvey Yesno, Grand Chief, Nishnawbe Aski Nation

            Peter Collins, Regional Chief, Anishinabek Nation: Ontario Union of Indians

            Warren White, Grand Chief Treaty 3

            Gary Lipinski, President, Métis Nation of Ontario

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