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Market Snapshot: Wind surpasses gas-fired power generation in Ontario

Release date: 2019-04-10

Ontario’s electricity supply continues to evolve. In 2017, wind became the province’s third largest source of electricity, surpassing power generation from natural gas. The largest source of electricity is nuclear, followed by hydro.

To meet provincial electricity demand, Ontario relies on its diverse electricity mix including renewables, gas-fired power generation, and nuclear power. In 2014, the province completed the phase out of coal-fired power generation. Coal-fired generation was 19% of Ontario’s electricity supply in 2005, the year the first coal unit was retired. Coal was replaced by baseload generation from nuclear and a combination of natural gas and non hydro renewables such as wind and solar. Today, non-hydro renewables account for 20% of the province’s electricity supply mix.

Wind and natural gas electricity generation in Ontario

Source and Description

Source: Statistics Canada and IESO

Description: The line chart shows Ontario’s wind and gas generation from 2005-2017. Gas generation drops from a high of 24 000 GW.h in 2012 to 7 000 GW.h by 2017. Wind generation rises from 26 GW.h in 2005 to 10 000 GW.h by 2017.

Changes in electricity demand and the rapid rise in wind generation are contributing to record low gas-fired power generation. In 2017, Ontario’s gas-fired generation fell to 7 TW.h, down 52% from nearly 15 TW.h the previous year. Although wind generation was higher than gas-fired generation in 2017, it too was affected by relatively low demand. In 2017, over 25% of wind generation was curtailed because demand was not high enough to take the electricity, meaning wind generation could have been much higher.

 

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