February 20, 2006

Toronto project will meet peak power needs with gas-fired generation, 300 MW of conservation

TORONTO, ONT-Ontario Energy Minister Donna Cansfield has given the go-ahead to the Ontario Power Authority (OPA)'s Portlands Energy Centre proposal for 550 megawatts (MW) of new gas-fired power generation. The Minister has also directed the OPA to develop 300 MW of conservation and demand response in Toronto. Together, these initiatives are intended to meet Toronto's power requirements in 2008 and beyond. The project will be completed in two phases, with the first phase slated to have 330 MW in service no later than the summer of 2008. Phase two will have 220 MW in service by 2009 along with cogeneration capabilities to supply thermal energy to district heating facilities or other customers. The conservation directive, combined with the 250 MW of conservation programs by Toronto Hydro, will more than double the new conservation programs for the city. Power transmission lines into the city are currently approaching their maximum capacity during peak periods and the province's Independent Electricity System Operator has warned that shortages are possible without a combination of new generation and optimized conservation. "In the 1960's, Toronto had half the population and 1,200 megawatts of generation in the city. Today, we have twice the population and almost no generation in the city," Cansfield explained. Commenting on the conservation directive, Chris Winter, executive director of the Conservation Council of Ontario, said, "I'm pleased to see that the Province has stepped up to the plate and made conservation an equal priority to generation. I firmly believe we can address the challenge of reducing peak demand in Toronto through conservation."

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