Alberta Seeks Next-Generation Grid-Scale Energy Storage

Storage technologies are sought to accelerate the deployment of renewable energies in Alberta.
Published: Wed 03 Dec 2014

Energy storage development is forging ahead in Ontario, with the commitment in the Long Term Energy Plan to acquire 50MW by the end of 2014 for testing in different applications. [Engerati-Ontario Energy Storage Procurement Enters Next Phase] Storage innovation is also being supported in the province.

Now Alberta is following suit, with the launch of a CA$2 million (US$1.8 million) fund to help develop “the most promising next-generation energy storage technologies for Alberta.”

Accelerating deployment of renewables

The call for proposals from Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions (AI-EES) seeks to identify energy storage solutions for the integration of intermittent renewable electricity, and develop those technologies toward grid-scale deployment in Alberta.

The call is not limited to particular technology types, but is focussed on technologies with the following characteristics:

● High round-trip efficiency, including electricity stored and all other energy inputs

● Scalability up to multi-MW scale

● High storage capacity

● High cycle life, with minimal performance degradation

● Low cost, including capital operating costs.

The scope includes projects at feasibility analysis and engineering design and lab and bench-scale proof-of-concept demonstration, up to prototype development and small-scale field pilot and demonstration.

Proposals will be accepted from anywhere globally. However, applicants must demonstrate that the technology is applicable and well-suited for grid-scale energy storage on Alberta’s interconnected electric system.

Up to 75% of any project’s costs will be covered, with a maximum of CA$250,000 over the life of the project, which will be a maximum of two years.

“This initiative is an indication of Alberta's desire to play a leadership role in shaping the future of energy storage,” says Mark Summers, director of Renewable Energy for AI-EES. “Our call for proposals will help AI-EES meet its goals for adoption of renewable energy by developing energy storage for intermittent renewable electricity onto the provincial electric grid.”

Renewables in Alberta

Alberta has strong wind and solar energy resources. Developing these resources offers a great opportunity to reduce provincial greenhouse gas emissions and provide long-term sustainable energy. However, the most promising resources are largely concentrated in certain regions of the province. This creates challenges for increasing the deployment of renewable energy to augment fossil fuel production and consumption in a significant way.

AI-EES’ 2030 target is that 20% of the province’s electrical generation will come from renewable sources with an energy storage capacity equivalent to 2.5% of total electrical generation. As of January 2014, wind (1,113MW) accounted for approximately 8% of the installed capacity.

Among projects under way, the Southern Alberta Transmission Reinforcement Project should enable up to 2,700MW of new wind generation in southern Alberta to connect to the grid.

Among other storage activities in Alberta, last year Suncor Energy and Teck were awarded CA$9.2 million from the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC) to pilot battery storage at the Wintering Hills wind farm.

Following a review and shortlisting of potential projects, funding approvals are expected before the end of May 2015.