How Ontario is Leading the Way in Energy Storage Innovations

The Ontario government made an ambitious commitment this past May to reduce carbon emissions by 37% from 1990 levels by 2030. This means decarbonizing Ontario’s electricity system is more important than ever, with developments in demand management and renewable energy technology posed to revolutionize the smart grid.

To remove peaking natural gas plants from the energy mix, it’s critical to have responsive, reliable energy sources that can be deployed at periods of high demand. This is why energy storage projects, like Tesla’s new battery storage systems, are so exciting for the electricity industry. Utility-scale battery packs could be used to store energy generated from intermittent sources like wind and solar, which could help phase out natural gas plants.

With ambitious carbon reduction targets, it comes as no surprise that Ontario is leading Canada in energy storage innovations. The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is currently working on a two-part, 50 MW energy storage pilot project. The first phase procured 34 MW from diverse ancillary service technologies like batteries, flywheels, hydrogen and thermal storage.

The second phase will procure 16 MW for capacity services. One company is developing technology that would compress air and store it in salt caverns, a cost-effective solution that would allow for long-term energy storage.

Separate from this pilot, Panasonic Eco Solutions are working on a combined solar PV and battery pilot project in Oshawa. They’re installing 30 combined solar PV and battery projects that can each generate 6 KW and store up to 10 KWh.

Testing diverse energy storage systems is important since Ontario is experiencing Surplus Baseload Generation – storage could make a huge difference in regulating power flow to the system. Here’s hoping these innovative projects pan out.

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