Canada’s Hydro One to expand Ontario’s transmission network

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has requested Canadian electricity transmission and distribution utility Hydro One to expand the energy transmission network in Ontario.

IESO has requested that the utility build a new 230-kV double circuit transmission line between Chatham and Lambton in south western Ontario.

Hydro One has a transformer station in Lambton and a switching station in Chatham. The new transmission line, if built, will help the utility to transport electricity between the Lambton transformer station and the Chatham switching station to meet growing energy demand owing to rapid agricultural activities in Windsor-Essex and Chatham areas.

IESO expects agricultural electricity demand in the Windsor-Essex and Chatham areas to grow from 500MW today to about 2,000MW by 2035. The anticipated growth in energy demand is equivalent to adding a city as big as Ottawa to the grid.

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If the project secures regulatory approval from the Ontario Energy Board, operations are expected to begin by 2028.

Consultations held by IESO with local stakeholders has indicated that expanding the transmission line is the most cost-effective way to expand the grid network whilst meeting growing energy demand.

Terry Young, interim president and CEO of the IESO, said: “This transmission line is another step in a multi-faceted planning approach to ensuring electricity is available now and into the future for Ontario’s fastest-growing region in terms of electricity demand.”

Greg Rickford, minister of energy, northern development and mines, added: “Transmission is the backbone of the electricity system. This investment will help drive economic growth and provide a reliable supply of electricity to power the rapidly growing agricultural sector in the region.”

Some projects currently under development to meet growing energy demand in the region include:

  1. The development of a new transmission network between Chatham and Lakeshore to increase south western Ontario’s capacity by 400MW. The project followed recommendations issued by IESO in 2019.

2. The development of two transmission lines in Leamington following successful completion of two new transmission networks as well.

3. Continued investments in energy conservation programmes to improve grid reliability whilst helping customers to save money. IESO invested $5.5 million in conservation projects which have so far saved 10MW of capacity.

4. IESO invested $2.5 million in smart grid technologies designed to improve the utility’s demand response capabilities.