Study findings show increasing prospects for wind energy in Ontario
TORONTO, ONT-A new study by GE Energy concludes that wind power has the potential to make an increasing contribution toward meeting Ontario's future electricity needs. The study, done for the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) provides a technical assessment of the implications of large-scale wind integration into the Ontario power system. The study found that the impacts on system operation would be minimal for levels of wind capacity up to 5,000 megawatts (MW). Ontario currently has more than 300 MW of wind power in service in the province, and expects to add another 1,000 MW by 2010. The study also found that the average capacity level for wind during the summer peak is approximately 17%, with values ranging from 16 to 19% between June and August and 38 to 42% between the months of November and February. The 17% summer peak average capacity level was higher than the 10% that is normally expected, noted Bob Gibbons, the OPA's director of resource integration. "The joint study assists our power system planning by clearly identifying the system impacts and when they are likely to occur," he added. Don Tench, director of planning and assessments for the IESO, said the findings were encouraging in two respects. "First, how much better the wind regime actually is in Ontario compared with other neighbouring jurisdictions and second, the contribution that Ontario geographic and wind diversity plays in facilitating the integration of larger amounts of wind supply into the electricity system," he explained. "The results of this study are good news for the emerging wind sector in Ontario and for our members, said CanWEA president Robert Hornung. "Wind energy is among the fastest growing renewable energy technologies in the world, and this study makes it clear that there is significant scope for growth in wind energy in Ontario," he said. CanWEA's recent annual conference and tradeshow, held late last month in Winnipeg, drew a record attendance of more than 1,000 delegates and featured some 130 exhibitors and 100 speakers with presentations on policy, technical and business issues related to wind energy. The study may be viewed on the IESO Web site, www.ieso.ca. More information is also available on the CanWEA Web site, www.canwea.ca.