Minister of Energy Releases Plan to Secure Ontario’s Energy Future
On Monday, Ontario’s Minister of Energy released the “Powering Ontario’s Growth” plan (the Plan) in efforts to meet increasing demand for electricity. The Plan outlines the actions the government intends to take to secure Ontario’s energy future, and progress towards zero-emissions based on the recommendations set out in the IESO’s Pathways to Decarbonization Report.
The Plan seeks to balance the need for short- and long-term electrification through managing the continued operation of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, while initiating the development of long-lead generation and storage assets.
This includes the recently announced government support for a possible 4,800 MW addition to the existing Bruce Power nuclear site, as well as proposed regulatory amendments to enable the Ontario Energy Board’s oversight and rate regulation of (i) TC Energy Corporation and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation’s proposed pumped storage project in Meaford and (ii) Northland Power and OPG’s proposed pumped storage project in Marmora; similar to the existing rate regulation of OPG’s existing nuclear and hydro-electric generation facilities.
Pursuant to the Plan, the Minister contemporaneously issued letters of direction to the IESO requesting a cost-benefit analysis to be conducted on the two pumped storage proposals, and to develop with Bruce Power a cost sharing and recovery framework for the potential new-build at the Bruce Power site. The Minister also requests the IESO to work with Bruce Power and OPG to deliver a feasibility and business case for potential future nuclear generation facilities.
Despite government support and direction for the above proposals, the letters of direction also state that the Minister would be supportive of discontinuing the IESO’s existing unsolicited proposals process for the evaluation of future energy project proposals in Ontario. This seems to open the door to the possibility of any future ratepayer-funded generation or transmission project development being secured only through a competitive process. This is buttressed by the letters of direction requesting the IESO to continue to develop and report back to the Minister on a possible transmitter selection framework by the end of 2024.
Our team at McCarthy Tétrault is closely observing the development and implementation of the Plan, and we remain committed to helping our clients navigate the changing regulatory landscape of the energy transition in Ontario. Please contact Reena Goyal, or any other member of the Power Group at McCarthy Tétrault, with any questions or for assistance.
 The IESO is to report back to the Minister on the cost-benefit analyses by September 30, 2023. The Minister intends to make a final determination on the two pumped storage proposals by November 30, 2023.