A proposed transmission line between Hydro One’s Lambton transformer station and its Chatham switching station would help support a rapidly growing agricultural sector, says the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).
If approved by the Ontario Energy Board, the 230-kilovolt double-circuit transmission line would be ready by 2028, stated a release on Monday.
“This transmission line is another step in a multi-faceted planning approach to ensuring electricity is available now and into the future for Ontario’s fastest-growing region in terms of electricity demand,” said Terry Young, IESO interim president and CEO.
“Over the last number of years, we have engaged with communities in the region, seeking their input so we can better understand how to develop cost-effective solutions to meet their energy needs.”
Currently, Hydro One is developing a new transmission line between Chatham and Lakeshore, recommended by the IESO back in 2019.
This is expected to increase the amount of available power in Southwestern Ontario by approximately 400 megawatts.
Hydro One has also recently energized two new transmission stations in Leamington and is building two additional transmission stations in the region.
The latest initiative would support growth in the Windsor-Essex and Chatham areas, the IESO said.
The organization expects agricultural electricity demand in the Windsor-Essex and Chatham areas to increase from approximately 500 MW currently to 2,000 MW by 2035, noting this is “equivalent to adding a city the size of Ottawa” to the grid.
It also has been engaging interested parties in the region to better understand the needs in the area to support economic development and job growth.
Further action is planned to address the pace of this growth and additional steps will be identified in upcoming IESO studies, set to be released this spring.
Mark Poweska, Hydro One president and CEO, said the organization is committed to “powering the growing economy in Southwestern Ontario while we continue to work with local Indigenous communities and the broader community to plan, design and build a grid for the future.
“By working alongside the IESO, Hydro One will energize life for Southwestern Ontario and ensure a robust high-voltage electricity grid is there to meet the needs of our customers now and into the future.”
Greg Rickford, Ontario minister of energy, northern development and mines, called transmission the backbone of the system to ensure sustainability.
“This investment will help drive economic growth and provide a reliable supply of electricity to power the rapidly growing agricultural sector in the region,” he said.