Community Role - Frequently Asked Questions

What is regional planning? 

Regional electricity system planning ensures a reliable supply for all of Ontario by taking local considerations into account. In addition to working closely with local electricity distributors and the local transmitter, planning includes a significant amount of public participation, with input from municipalities, individuals, Indigenous communities and business groups, through various stakeholder events and forums. This is where we learn about specific local needs such as population forecasts, local energy projects, future housing needs, long-term land use plans, renewable energy integration and more.

How does electricity planning impact my community?

Aligning municipal and electricity planning can ensure the development goals and priorities of your municipality are aligned and contribute to maintaining a reliable, cost-effective electricity system for your community and its consumers.

Electricity is the primary energy source for municipal operations. It accounts for roughly 60 per cent of the six billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy used in municipally-owned facilities, social housing, street lights and other uses. Research shows that in 2014, municipalities spent more than $900 million annually on electricity.

What is the difference between capacity and energy?

Capacity is the maximum amount of energy a resource can provide while energy is the actual electricity output over a period of time. Watch this video to hear more:

What’s a Distributed Energy Resource?

Distributed energy resources, or DERs are resources that are directly connected to a local distribution system (the region served by your local hydro company) or a host facility within that system — a home, a building, or a business. DERs can include solar panels, combined heat and power plants, electricity storage systems, small natural gas fueled generators and electric vehicles. These resources are included in the “non-wires” approach to electricity planning and delivery. They are typically smaller in scale, and produce less electricity, than the traditional generation facilities that serve most of the needs in Ontario.

What’s the role of the IESO and all the other players in the electricity sector?

This illustration provides an overview of the roles within our electricity system – ensuring electricity is generated, transmitted and consumed – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What have you heard already from municipalities and communities? 

Municipalities, planners, businesses and others want to take advantage of renewable power, small-scale generation, energy management and potential electrification of transit and buildings. Integrating these community-based energy and climate change action plans, some of which are already underway, is important to meeting demand needs, while stimulating economic development and achieving sustainability goals. Sudbury, Hamilton and Sault Ste. Marie are among some of the areas developing their own community-based energy plans, while others are expanding their energy efficiency and demand management abilities.

How can I get more involved in electricity planning for my community?

Register to be a member of our Regional Electricity Networks on IESO Connects and participate in network discussions. You can also visit the IESO’s regional planning pages for information on specific engagement initiatives for each region.

Register here


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