Energy Planning: The Case for a Less Prescriptive Approach

On July 11, the Government of Ontario released a discussion paper and related data on a new long term energy plan (LTEP). This launched the third round of provincial electricity planning since 2007, when the Ontario Power Authority filed an Integrated System Planning with the Ontario Energy Board.

Although this most recent round was described as a "tweak" of the last LTEP (released in November 2010), it does suggest at least the potential for some fairly dramatic potential course corrections, particularly with respect to the role of renewable power, new nuclear facilities and conservation. The previous LTEP had specific quantifiable goals for each of those resources. In the data provided with the current LTEP, they are treated as options that presumably will have to compete among each other to meet the Province’s capacity and energy needs. In addition, the resources with which they may compete have been expanded to include consideration of options that were largely absent in previous planning exercises, specifically, using gas generation to meet base load requirements and imports to meet capacity requirements.

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