New transmission line expected to meet growing electricity needs in Windsor-Essex
Published Thursday, June 13, 2019 12:41PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 13, 2019 7:48PM EDT
A new transmission line is expected to help deal with the increasing electricity needs in the Windsor-Essex region.
The Independent Electricity System Operator has requested Hydro One develop and construct the line.
“The IESO is committed to ensuring Ontario businesses and communities have the electricity they need to grow and prosper,” said Peter Gregg, president and CEO of the IESO. “We have seen firsthand the growth in the Windsor-Essex region, and determined a new transmission line is needed to ensure enough electricity is available to meet future needs.”
The IESO is expecting electricity demand in the Windsor-Essex region to increase significantly due to strong agricultural growth, primarily from expansion in the greenhouse sector and, to a lesser extent, in the cannabis industry.
The new transmission line is expected to cost up to $150 million. It will run from Chatham to north of Leamington. It will allow greater amounts of electricity to flow into southwestern Ontario from other parts of the province.
“Our forecasts show remarkable growth,” said Leonard Kula, vice president of planning, acquisition and operations. “Electricity demand is expected to double in the Windsor-Essex region over the next five years, which is exceptional when you look at the province-wide picture of essentially flat demand in the years ahead.”
The owner of Nature Fresh Farms supports the move to improve electricity access in Essex County.
“We need about a half a megawatt of electricity per acre for vegetables,” says Pete Quiring, who is ready to break ground on another 32-acre greenhouse this summer.
Quiring tells CTV News it’s a move they couldn't make without Hydro One's help.
“Had it not come through, we would be forced to go somewhere else, possibly back to the U.S,” says Quiring, who also points out the work will create thousands of jobs.
The transmission line is expected to be complete by the end of 2025.
To meet the electricity needs in the area in the shorter term, the IESO has also requested Hydro One to develop and construct upgrades to existing transmission infrastructure and is exploring consumer energy management options with local utilities, municipalities, Indigenous communities, businesses and other stakeholders.
“This new transmission line will increase electricity access in Kingsville-Leamington, and is key for greenhouse vegetable growers to meet the rising demand for year-round greenhouse produce," said Joe Sbrocchi, general manager of Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers.
“It will support the expansion of greenhouse operations, contribute to regional economic success, and provide even more fresh, nutritious, quality produce for Ontarians.”