Q4 Market Report: Pendulum Swinging to Markets – Will Ontario Get it Right?

Power Advisory LLC Q4 Ontario Market Report now available.

Over the past few months, there has been much concern (and justifiably so) over rising electricity costs to Ontario’s customers. In part due to this concern, the Ontario Government suspended the Large Renewable Procurement and just announced cancellation of the last round of procurements under the Feed-in Tariff Program. Clearly, there is now heightened awareness to cut costs within Ontario’s electricity sector.

We believe these cost issues are pushing the Ontario Government to find avenues towards potential resolutions, and one of these avenues is the Independent Electricity System Operator’s (IESO’s) Market Renewal Initiative. This is evident based on the Ministry of Energy’s remarks at the Association of Power Producers of Ontario’s annual banquet on November 15, 2016 and then at the November 28, 2016 Empire Club of Canada luncheon.

While Ontario’s wholesale electricity market should evolve through the Market Renewal Initiative, many Ontario-specific conditions and factors must be taken into account. First, Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan will serve as a foundation within the forthcoming Ontario Government’s revised Long- Term Energy Plan which will set electricity policy. Therefore, evolution of Ontario’s wholesale  electricity market must result in outcomes to meet policy objectives. Second, Ontario’s supply mix is heavily ‘baseloaded’ with a very high concentration of non-emitting resources with high fixed costs and low marginal costs. We believe this supply mix will pose unique challenges to evolve Ontario’s wholesale market design, and therefore somewhat limiting application of some components of the U.S. wholesale market designs. Because of these challenges, any wrong turns in the evolution of Ontario’s wholesale market could actually result in higher costs to Ontario’s electricity ratepayers – so let’s take the time to get it right!