The Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines is reviewing Ontario’s long-term energy planning framework with a view to implementing a new, more transparent, predictable, and reliable planning process.

ERO number
019-3007
Notice type
Act
Posted by
Ministry of Energy
Notice stage
Decision
Decision posted
Comment period
January 27, 2021 - April 27, 2021 (90 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:
January 27, 2021
to April 27, 2021

Decision summary

We are taking a measured approach to reforming Ontario’s long-term energy planning framework.  

Decision details

As a first step, the Government revoked O. Reg. 355/17, which required the government to publish a Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) every three years.

While the review is underway, the Ministry, IESO and OEB retain current authorities for planning and energy decisions. IESO is continuing its ongoing planning activities, including releasing planning outlooks regularly and consulting and developing regional plans with stakeholders.

The purpose of consulting through the ERO was to identify key considerations for designing a new long-term planning framework. The posting communicated the proposed objectives of refocusing the planning process and invited individuals, organizations, and Indigenous partners to share ideas and perspectives with the Ministry.

In response to the posting, the Ministry received 78 submissions: 27 submitted by non-utility energy companies, 3 from utilities, 10 from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), 12 from industry or industry organizations, 10 from municipalities, 13 from individuals, 1 from academia and 2 from Indigenous partners.

In general, stakeholders expressed support for undertaking reforms to Ontario’s long-term energy planning process in line with the principles outlined in the posting. We were able to identify core themes across submissions that will allow us to reform long-term planning in line with the priorities identified by Ontario residents, sector stakeholders and experts, and Indigenous communities.

This advice has been summarized in a What We Heard report (see link below).

We are now taking steps to improve integrated energy planning (outlined below) and will announce additional opportunities to provide input on long-term planning as they become available.

Comments received

Through the registry

54

By email

0

By mail

24
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

Comments received through the ERO provided thorough and well-considered responses to the core questions posed in the posting as well as the key priorities outlined for planning reform.

In general, stakeholders expressed support for undertaking reforms to Ontario’s long-term energy planning process in line with the stated principles.

We identified the following key themes from the submissions:

  • The need for clear, high-level government policy direction;
  • The importance of integrated, coordinated planning across energy sectors;
  • A focus on independent, agency-led planning;
  • The importance of independent planning oversight, with an emphasis on the role of the OEB as independent regulator; and
  • The need for enhanced stakeholder and public participation.

Many submissions also provided input on the substance of an energy plan, rather than the planning process. ENERGY welcomes all input into Ontario’s planning objectives and these comments have been shared to relevant units throughout the Ministry for consideration.

In response to the advice received, we are now moving forward with two key initiatives in support of integrated long-term planning:

  1. Establishment of an Electrification and Energy Transition Panel that will provide essential expertise and advice to the Minister on how to coordinate long-term energy planning, considering growing energy demand, emerging technologies, environmental considerations and affordability.
  2. Commissioning of an independent, cost-effective pathways study to better understand how to optimize technology and prepare the energy system for electrification.

Together, the Panel and Study will provide an effective pathway to improved long-term planning and the electrification of energy services. Integrated planning will benefit both ratepayers and energy companies by creating a more predictable investment environment, making life more affordable and Ontario more competitive.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

Connect with us

Contact

Rachel Thompson

Phone number
Office
Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, Strategic Network and Agency Policy Division
Address

77 Grenville Street, 6th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 2C1
Canada

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Original proposal

ERO number
019-3007
Notice type
Act
Posted by
Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines
Proposal posted

Comment period

January 27, 2021 - April 27, 2021 (90 days)

Proposal details

Background:

Ontario’s Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (ENDM) is seeking input on how to refocus the current long-term energy planning process to enable better use of resources and increase benefits to customers.

As part of this renewed planning process, ENDM could seek to rely more directly on Ontario’s technical agencies and economic regulators, like the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). These agencies currently work under their mandates to conduct electricity system planning and decision-making with the objectives of ensuring a reliable and cost-effective system.

Overview of Current Planning Processes:

Long-Term Energy Plans: Current Process

Ontario’s current long-term energy planning framework is set out under the Electricity Act, 1998. It includes requirements for the ministry to publish a provincial Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) in accordance with specified objectives and sets procedural roles for the government, the IESO and the OEB. The Act also provides ENDM with the ability to issue LTEP implementation directives to the IESO and the OEB to take steps to implement components of the LTEP. Only the most recent LTEP, published in 2017, was issued under this legislative framework and was accompanied by such directives.

Under the Act, a long-term energy plan may include goals and objectives respecting:

  1. the cost-effectiveness of energy supply and capacity, transmission and distribution;
  2. the reliability of energy supply and capacity, transmission and distribution, including resiliency to the effects of climate change;
  3. the prioritization of measures related to the conservation of energy or the management of energy demand;
  4. the use of cleaner energy sources and innovative and emerging technologies;
  5. air emissions from the energy sector, taking into account any projections respecting the emission of greenhouse gases developed with the assistance of the IESO;
  6. consultation with Aboriginal Peoples and their participation in the energy sector, and the engagement of interested persons, groups and communities in the energy sector; and
  7. any other related matter the Minister determines should be addressed.

Under the current planning process, the Minister requests a technical report from the IESO. The Minister may also request additional reports. The government considers the technical, and any other report(s), as well as input from customers, distributors, generators, transmitters, Indigenous groups, or other persons or groups to develop the Plan. After releasing the LTEP, the Minister may issue implementation directives to the IESO and the OEB. The agencies submit their implementation plans to the Minister for approval within the timeframe specified by the directive. Once implementation plans are approved by the Minister, the IESO and the OEB move forward with their initiatives as outlined in the implementation plans.

Role of the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO)

The IESO is an independent body established to perform real-time operations of the electricity grid through energy markets, and undertake system planning, competitive procurement and energy-efficiency programs.

With respect to planning, the IESO identifies and plans to meet needs on a quarterly, annual, 3-year and 5-year cycle through a number of resource adequacy assessments, including:

  • The Reliability Outlook – an 18-month outlook published on a quarterly basis that guides operational planning in Ontario.
  • The Annual Planning Outlook – a 20-year outlook intended to guide investment decisions and market development. The Outlook forecasts demand and assesses the adequacy of existing supply resources and transmission infrastructure to meet energy, capacity and other requirements. 
  • Bulk Transmission Planning – intended to identify investment and operational needs required to support provincial electricity needs (e.g., network assets). In recent years, bulk transmission studies have been conducted on an as-needed basis, but a formal integrated bulk transmission planning process is currently under development by the IESO.
  • Regional Planning – intended to identify investment and operational needs required to support regional electricity needs. Local regions are assessed at a minimum every 5 years and with a 20-year outlook. If regional needs are identified, the IESO in concert with the local transmitter and distributors develop an Integrated Regional Resource Plan (IRRP) that outlines the unique needs of a planning region to inform local investment decisions as well as overall provincial needs.

Role of the Ontario Energy Board (OEB)

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) is the independent regulator of Ontario's energy sector; its core purpose is to regulate Ontario's energy utilities and other sector entities in the public interest. The OEB is empowered by statute to (among other things) set rates for certain regulated entities, license participants in the electricity sector, and decide leave-to-construct applications for transmission lines and hydrocarbon pipelines. The OEB undertakes its role primarily through quasi-judicial processes, reviewing applications through formal hearings and issuing legally binding orders. The OEB reviews system planning by Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) and transmitters and has established regional planning process requirements. The OEB licenses the IESO, sets its fees and plays an oversight role in relation to the IESO-administered markets.

Electricity Resource Acquisition

The outcomes of IESO’s planning assessments are used to inform and support decision making on investments required to meet the system needs identified.

Needs are also met by investments made by existing rate-regulated entities (Hydro One and other transmitters, OPG, LDCs). The OEB reviews investments proposed by rate regulated entities through their rate filing application to ensure investments are prudent and that the associated rates are just and reasonable. The OEB has also established cost responsibility rules with respect to transmission and distribution system investments.

Purpose of this Posting:

ENDM’s goals in reforming the approach to long-term energy planning are to promote transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of energy planning decision-making, increase investment certainty, and ensure the interests of ratepayers are protected.

A desired outcome of the new planning framework would be to empower expert technical planners, such as the IESO, to plan the most reliable and cost-effective system. To achieve this objective, the ministry is considering revoking the provisions of the Electricity Act, 1998 related to long term energy plans, implementation directives and implementation plans.

ENDM is also considering whether the IESO and the OEB have the appropriate mandates and authorities to undertake an expanded planning and resource acquisition role. This could include the development of a new approval or review process for certain types of government policy-decisions.

As a first step, the government has already revoked Ontario Regulation 355/17, effective January 1, 2021. O. Reg 355/17 required ENDM to publish a new Long-Term Energy Plan every three years. This would have been February 2021.

The purpose of consulting at this stage is to communicate the proposed objectives of refocusing the planning process and to invite individuals, organizations, and Indigenous partners to share ideas and perspectives with the Ministry. To help guide feedback and inform the Ministry’s plans for reforming long-term energy planning in the province a list of guiding questions is provided below.

Guiding Questions:

The following is a list of targeted questions to help guide feedback. It is not exhaustive.

  • How can we promote transparency, accountability and effectiveness of energy planning and decision-making under a new planning framework?
  • What overarching goals and objectives should be recognized in a renewed planning framework?
  • What respective roles should each of the Government, IESO, and the OEB hold in energy decision-making and long-term planning?
  • What kinds of decisions should be made by technical planners at the IESO and the OEB as regulators?
  • What types of decisions should require government direction or approval?
  • Are there gaps in the IESO and the OEB’s mandates and objectives that limit their ability to effectively lead long-term planning?
  • Should certain planning processes or decisions by the IESO, the OEB, or the government receive additional scrutiny, for example through legislative oversight or review by an expert committee?
  • How often and in what form should government provide policy guidance and direction to facilitate effective long-term energy planning?
  • How do we ensure effective and meaningful Indigenous participation in energy sector decision-making?

Your Feedback:

Reforming the Long-Term Energy Planning Framework in Ontario is an extension of the government’s commitment to a transparent electricity sector for customers, as outlined in the 2019 Fall Economic Statement. We appreciate your feedback on the proposal in order to build a better system for Ontario’s energy customers.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

Comment

Commenting is now closed.

This consultation was open from January 27, 2021
to April 27, 2021

Connect with us

Contact

Rachel Thompson

Phone number
Office
Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, Strategic Network and Agency Policy Division
Address

77 Grenville Street, 6th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 2C1
Canada