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Ontario Announces Life Extension of Pickering Nuclear Generating Station

Published on
September 29, 2022

Earlier this morning the Honourable Todd Smith, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, announced the province’s support for Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to further life extend “B” Units 5 through 8 at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. This extension, if approved by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), would mean that Ontario’s electricity grid will continue to rely on these units to the end of September 2026.

At present OPG has made applications to the CNSC to life extend 2 units to December 2024 and the remaining 4 units to December 2026. This measure, if approved, would adjust these timelines. The province is also supporting OPG undertaking a deeper feasibility study to explore a further life extension beyond 2026 “as a prudent due diligence measure to support future electricity planning decisions.”

Over the past year the IESO has identified increasing supply needs in the provincial grid. These needs are manifesting due to increased electrical demand, as well as the need to replace older assets. Earlier this in the Annual Planning Outlook (APO) the IESO forecasted approximately 7GW in resources that will need to be acquired from new and existing asset and achieve in-service mid-decade to meet reliability requirements. This need is projected to grow over time, stimulated by increased consumer demand, clean energy transition, and electrification.

Today’s announcement will preserve baseload nuclear from the Pickering facility through the high-demand summer peak period of 2026. The province is also expected to respond to a report from the IESO, to be submitted October 7th, that will affect upcoming Long-Term and Expedited Procurements. Resources required through these procurements will have in-service dates between 2025 and 2027. As such, a life extension of Pickering will buttress electricity reliability in 2026 to support new assets while they are being developed and commissioned. It will also support the ongoing refurbishment of other nuclear units at OPG Darlington and Bruce Power.

Additional policy, planning and resource needs are expected to be identified in the IESO’s Pathways to Decarbonization report, due to the Minister in November 2022. A refreshed Pickering life extension feasibility study could also affect long-term planning and the provincial supply mix.

Happy to help.

Sussex will continue to monitor these development and support clients in these important areas.

Chris Benedetti, Managing Partner: cbenedetti@sussex-strategy.com

Bonnie Hiltz, Vice President and Energy Practice Lead: bhiltz@sussex-strategy.com

Mark Olsheski, Vice President, Energy: molsheski@sussex-strategy.com

Patrick Gajos, Director and General Counsel: pgajos@sussex-strategy.com

Jordan Penic, Director, Energy: jpenic@sussex-strategy.com

Joyce Mankarios, Director, Ontario: jmankarios@sussex-strategy.com

Kristina Matovich, Research Associate, Energy: kmatovich@sussex-strategy.com

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