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Supporting Ontario’s Electricity Grid

In 2003, a widespread blackout impacted more than 50 million people in Ontario and parts of the United States. This event prompted Ontario to focus on energy conservation programs to ease demand on the grid. The Independent Electricity System Operator’s Demand Response Program (DRA) and the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) are two such programs that incentivize industrial and commercial customers to lower their electricity demand during peak periods. Lowering the overall demand reduces the need for gas-generated power, which avoids greater Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions, and defers the need for new provincial electricity infrastructure investments. 

New Gold commits emergency load capacity into the DRA for our local Northwestern Ontario Electrical Zone and actively curtails grid-wide peaks through the ICI at the Rainy River Mine. As part of these programs, operators like the Rainy River Mine are notified in advance of a need to lower our transmission draws. Within this zone, the mine is one of the larger industrial operators. Our commitments to reduce demand by between 22-25 megawatts is made possible by curtailing grinding circuit equipment activity in the mill for a few hours per year, when required. New Gold uses Workbench Energy—an energy peak prediction service provider—for the necessary electricity grid data analysis and peak notifications.   

Reducing the load in the mill facility during forewarned or grid peak events is no small feat and requires coordinated planning, collaboration and teamwork by employees across the entire site. Through reducing these demands, the Rainy River Mine helps ensure enough load reliability when experiencing grid-level weather-related peak times and any local emergency events such as forest fires affecting power transmission lines, in turn supporting people and communities in the region.  

As part of our commitment to sustainability, we will continue to optimize our mining, ore processing and the necessary energy supply requirements, while supporting the provincial energy conservation programs.