Ontario’s Grid Operator Gets Its First Grid-Connected Battery

Ontario can look forward to balancing power flows and maintaining grid reliability with its new grid-connected battery.
Published: Wed 27 Aug 2014

Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc. (RES Canada), a leader in the development and construction of wind, solar, transmission, and energy storage projects in the US, has announced the final certification of its second energy storage system, Amphora.

Frequency regulation for IESO

RES Canada conceived, developed, and constructed the energy storage system, which it will own and operate. Located in Central Strathroy, west of London, Ontario, the system is made up of approximately 4MW (8MW total range)/2.6MWh lithium battery that will provide frequency regulation service to Ontario's grid operator, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).

Amphora will operate under a three year agreement with the IESO and the facility has a lifespan of more than 10 years. The site was provided by Entegrus, a utility providing electricity, renewable energy, and water supply to more than 40,000 customers in Southwestern Ontario.

Amphora was developed in response to a request for a proposal issued by the IESO, through which it sought to procure up to 10MW of regulation from alternative sources such as dispatchable loads, aggregated demand response, and storage technologies, including batteries and flywheels.

The energy storage system will also allow the IESO to receive experience with battery technology. Unique operating characteristics at the facility enable it to contribute to Ontario's energy needs in a variety of ways while complementing the performance of existing generators.

Improving grid flexibility and efficiency

The project utilizes lithium iron phosphate, an inherently safe variant of lithium battery chemistry, and consists of two containers that house batteries weighing approximately 20 tons each, as well as a third container that converts the direct current (DC) output to alternating current (AC) for the grid. The equipment was supplied by BYD America.

"RES Canada is pleased to bring our first Ontario energy storage project online," said Peter Clibbon, Senior Vice President, RES Canada. "We believe investments in developing energy storage infrastructure are critical to improving the flexibility and efficiency of an increasingly complex grid system."

Says Micheal Austin, Vice President of BYD America. "We share a common vision of a low-carbon electric grid that is enabled and balanced by battery energy storage."

Ontario’s energy storage needs

Ontario’s renewable energy power production-mostly from wind and solar-is escalating at a rapid rate and storage solutions need to be implemented fast in order to match up with predictable periods of customer demand. To date, Ontario has over 2,300MW of installed wind power generation and more than 900MW of solar photovoltaic electricity generation power online.

In fact, there is so much excess power from renewables that power authorities are being forced to sell this excess to its neighbours at very low prices. This is due to the fact that Ontario does not have appropriate solutions to store the power effectively to meet later customer demands. [Engerati-Energy Storage Procurements Forging Ahead in Ontario.]

"Alternative technologies on the power grid are gaining momentum," said Bruce Campbell, President and CEO, IESO. "This is the first grid-connected battery on the IESO's system and the experience we gain will help demonstrate how this technology can help us balance power flows, and ultimately maintain reliability."

The IESO is currently moving ahead with a project to introduce further storage to the grid and has just procured 34MW of storage technologies from five companies for testing in the provision of ancillary services. [Engerati-Ontario System Operator Procures 34MW Storage To Test In Grid Operation]