Ontario City Seeks Assistance with Utility Microgrid

Share Button
Sault Ste Marie Canal powerhouse and workshop

Sault Ste Marie Canal powerhouse and workshop

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario is moving forward with plans to build a utility microgrid, and as a next step seeks assistance with project assessment.

A city of about 75,000 people near the U.S./Canadian border, Sault Ste. Marie intends to install a microgrid to improve the local utility distribution system.

Its utility, PUC Services (PUC), has been working on the project since early 2013. PUC issued a request for proposals (RFP) yesterday seeking a consultant to further analyze the utility microgrid’s economics.

Bids are due Jan. 22, 2016.

Sault Ste. Marie already is a green city. It is home to a 189-MW wind farm with enough output for a city twice the size. Some of the city’s other green energy resources include almost 400 MW of hydroelectricity, a 60-MW solar energy farm and a 70-MW combined heat and power (CHP) plant.

The utility microgrid would incorporate renewable energy and eventually CHP and electric vehicles, according to the RFP.

The RFP seeks a consultant to evaluate the overall value proposition of the utility microgrid. This includes assessing the business case and socio-economics of the microgrid.

The consultant also will recommend an accounting framework for the project to fulfill Ontario Energy Board regulations, and identify possible financing or equity partnership alternatives for the project.

Project analysis done so far indicates that the microgrid would benefit the city’s customers, the local utility and Ontario.  Specifically, the microgrid is expected to reduce system voltage and improve system efficiency and electric reliability.

The utility sees the project incorporating:

  • Conservation voltage reduction (CVR) – The city would either rebuild or replace distribution substations, including transformers and balance of systems, with equipment that includes voltage regulation technology. This would allow PUC to reduce distribution voltage at will. Voltage reduction reduces the customer’s energy consumption, thereby reducing the customer’s bill.
  • Volt/VAR optimization – Improves distribution system efficiency and reduces system losses by voltage regulation and power factor correction.
  • Distributed automation–Automated distribution system devices facilitate self-healing circuits that reduce outage times and improve reliability.
  • Demand management – The utility would control customer loads, such as hot water heaters, to reduce customer energy consumption at peak demand times.

As part of the utility microgrid project, Sault Ste. Marie also plans to seek better ways to use customer data from smart meters to manage demand.

Proposals are due to Noella Flood, purchasing agent. [email protected] The RFP is available on PUC’s website.

Free Resource from Microgrid Knowledge Library

island a microgrid
Microgrid Solutions Sustain Energy Supply – Even when the Grid is Off
Microgrid are integral to initiatives that aim to strengthen the economy, save lives during natural disasters, and make our energy supply more sustainable and our electrical power more secure. Microgrids increasing support more reliable, efficient and safe power for critical infrastructure. To learn more download this white paper.
We always respect your privacy and we never sell or rent our list to third parties. By downloading this White Paper you are agreeing to our terms of service. You can opt out at any time.

Get this PDF emailed to you.

To track other utility microgrids,  follow  Microgrid Knowledge on  Twitter @MicrogridNews.

Share Button

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.


  1. […] by Veridian followed release earlier in the week of a solicitation by Sault Ste. Marie for the next phase in development of its municipal […]