Market Snapshot: Quebec-Ontario Power Sharing Agreement Supports Nuclear Refurbishments

Release date: 2015-09-30

Ontario and Quebec signed a capacity sharing agreement for 500 megawatts (MW) of exchanged power seasonally from 1 December 2015 to 30 September 2025. Under the agreement, Quebec will have access to 500 MW of power from Ontario during the winter months (December-March) and Ontario would receive the same amount of capacity in the summer months (June-September). This will help Quebec meet its demand during the cold winter months, and provide Ontario with electricity supply during the high demand summer months. This will be particularly useful during the upcoming nuclear refurbishments.

Installed Electricity Generation Capacity in Ontario by Fuel Type and Nuclear Capacity by Plant

Figure Sources and Description

Sources: IESO, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Bruce Power

Description: The chart shows installed electricity generation capacity by fuel type for the month of June 2015. Ontario’s installed generation capacity is 34 780 MW. The installed nuclear capacity is 12 978 MW or 37 per cent of the total installed generation capacity. Of that, Bruce makes up 49 per cent, followed by Darlington at 27 per cent and Pickering at 24 per cent.

Ontario’s three nuclear plants with eighteen operating units provide approximately 13 GW of capacity or 37 per cent of installed electricity generation capacity. According to Ontario’s December 2013 energy plan, 10 of those units will be refurbished by 2031.

OPG will begin a major refurbishment at the Darlington nuclear station in 2016. The Darlington plant houses four CANDU reactors and produces between 25 and 29 terawatt hours of electricity per year, or about 18 to 20 per cent of Ontario’s total annual electricity demand. The four reactors are the largest CANDU reactors in the world and have been in operation for almost 25 years. Unit 2 entered service in 1990, Unit 1 in 1992, and Units 3 and 4 in 1993. The refurbishments will begin with Unit 2 which will be temporarily removed from service in 2016.

The refurbishment of units 1 and 2 at the Bruce nuclear station was completed in 2012. Less extensive life extension work was completed on units 3 and 4 in 2004. Bruce Power and the Ontario Power Authority are negotiating terms for the refurbishment of units 5-8.

All six operating units at Pickering, OPG’s other nuclear station, are scheduled for retirement in 2020. Four of the eight units at Pickering were voluntarily shut down in 1997. Two of those units were returned to service in the early 2000s while two other units have remained shut down.

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