Ontario procures more natural gas, battery storage for electricity system

TORONTO — Ontario’s electricity system operator is announcing that it is bringing seven new battery storage projects into the province’s grid, to support reliability and help eventually move away from natural gas.

But in the meantime, today’s procurement announcement also comes with more natural gas generation, from expansions and upgrades at existing sites.

The Independent Electricity System Operator says Ontario can eliminate natural gas in the electricity system by 2050, but it is still needed for now to maintain reliability.

The IESO said in the fall that Ontario should secure 4,000 more megawatts of capacity in the system _ enough to power the city of Toronto _ as it faces surging electricity demand and a large nuclear plant is set to come offline.

Today’s announcement amounts to 1,325 of those 4,000 megawatts and the IESO says there are several other storage projects in the works.

Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith says it marks Canada’s largest energy storage procurement.