Ontario Microgrids & Smart Energy Get $24M Funding Boost

Ontario microgrids

Credit: Ryan Stubbs

Ontario continues to show itself as smart energy leader, this time by channeling $23.7 million into 17 projects that promote microgrids, energy storage and other efficient and reliable electric technologies.

The province has gained an international reputation in recent years for its aggressive clean energy moves. Among other things, it has installed $4.8 million smart meters in homes and businesses and ended use of all coal-fired generation.

This week Ontario’s Ministry of Energy announced the second round of applicants receiving funding through the $50 million Smart Grid Fund. The $23.7 million allotted will support microgrids, energy storage, electric vehicle integration, behind-the-meter management, data analytics and grid automation.

The winners are:

MICROGRID

  • Canadian Solar: for development of a real-world laboratory in Guelph focused on microgrids. The laboratory looks at integrating renewable energy at high levels of penetration in both off-grid (remote) and grid-tied remote Ontario environments.
  • eCAMION: for a microgrid that will support 16 residential and commercial energy users in Woodstock, Ontario. The microgrid will include smart metering technology, energy storage, renewable distributed generation and electric vehicles.
  • Panasonic Eco Solutions Canada: for the construction of a ‘grid-tied’ microgrid at The University of Ontario Institute of Technology campus in Oshawa. The microgrid is designed to operate as backup power during a utility power outage and provide seamless disconnection and reconnection from the main grid.

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ENERGY STORAGE

eCAMION: to demonstrate three 250 kWh smart energy storage systems in Sudbury, Toronto, and Ottawa, to promote peak management, grid reliability, and increased renewable energy penetration.

Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Energy: to demonstrate of a pole-mounted energy storage system to facilitate electric vehicle integration and improve grid stability/reliability.

Electrovaya: to install 11 Intelligent Energy Storage Systems in Toronto and London to solve issues caused by system congestion and sudden connect/disconnect of electric vehicles.
ELECTRIC VEHICLE INTEGRATION

CrossChasm: to equip 30 plug-in electric vehicles with network-enabled data loggers to provide utilities with better visibility of EV-related grid impacts. This will allow charging to be optimized according to grid capacity and user preferences.

Tech Mahindra: to develop an integrated hardware-software solution that allows utilities to gather data on both EV charging patterns and local transformer performance. Enrolling 10-15 EV users in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this project will help utilities plan for future EV impacts on the distribution system, and through an in-home display, will help consumers manage energy usage.

University of Ottawa: to develop solutions that incorporate charging and discharging of EV batteries while incorporating secure payment and privacy of user data, as well as an EV charging station locator mobile app.

METERING

Energate: for tools that make it easier for consumers to monitor and manage their home energy use and costs. Energate’s software, mobile applications, and devices—like smart thermostats and in-home energy displays—also help to manage the system by reducing peak demand.

Energate: a programmable thermostat pilot project to demonstrate a customer opt-in dynamic pricing solution. One thousand residents enrolled in Powerstream’s “Advantage Power Pricing” program will be able to monitor and control their electricity consumption in response to peak pricing schedules set by the utility.

McMaster University: to design various dynamic pricing programs. Participants will select among several different pricing plans that, when combined with direct consumption feedback, will provide participants with a breakdown of their energy consumption by appliance. Changes in consumption due to pricing and feedback will be measured for conservation impacts.

Rogers Communications: to test new technology that will allow customers to have greater control over their energy consumption and manage monthly costs, while contributing to a more efficient energy grid.

DATA ANALYICS

Essex Energy: to develop software to integrate data sources from a variety of technologies, including smart meters, to monitor the state of the electricity distribution system and alert operators to system problems.

IBM: is creating a research collaboration center that will use and analyze smart meter data. The project will use this data to identify ways to improve conservation and shift usage away from peak times.

LocalGrid: to combine line sensor data with anonymous smart meter data and other pieces of information to develop a software solution and user interface that helps utilities analyze and report on relevant operations, including outages. This project will also include a microgrid component.

Sault Ste Marie Innovation Centre: to develop a financial analytics solution that will analyze smart grid investment options for utilities, model existing infrastructure, and conduct predictive maintenance analysis.

GRID AUTOMATION

dTechs: to install 2,225 high resolution wireless sensors on the medium voltage supply in Oakville to help the utility detect issues on their grid, making the system more efficient and reliable.

General Electric: for its Grid IQ Center, a facility designed to support research and innovation to improve the efficiency, reliability and security of the electricity grid.

GRID20/20: to test the functioning of a line sensor and monitoring system that provides asset loading information, outage notification, conservation voltage reduction and other key utility services.

N-Dimensions: to develop d cyber security solutions to help ensure data gathered from smart meter collector systems remains protected and secure.

Opus One: to develop a Distributed Energy Management System (DEMS) for the monitoring, protection, and optimal control of generation, demand, and storage resources.

Prolucid: for a project that gives local distribution companies more automated control over the management of their systems by pinpointing outages and system faults by gathering better data in real time.

Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Energy: to build a smart grid laboratory. The laboratory will provide a collaborative facility for testing and demonstrating Smart Grid ideas and products for Ontario institutions.

Varentec:  for a demonstration of an innovative solution that helps flatten voltage profiles along secondary distribution feeder lines. The project proposes to deploy devices at strategic locations across Southwestern Ontario, to improve renewable energy integration and reduce line loss.

 

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Elisa Wood About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than two decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.

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