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IESO to Integrate New Storage and Demand Response Technologies into the Operation of Provincial Power System: Move Will Enhance Flexibility and Diversity

20 December 2012

Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has taken a major step forward to increase the participation of alternative technologies such as aggregated loads, flywheels and battery storage in the electricity market by selecting three new suppliers of regulation service, a grid-balancing function traditionally provided by generators – a first for Ontario.

Regulation is a contracted service that acts to match total generation on the system with total demand on a second-by-second basis. By helping to correct small, sudden changes in power system frequency, it balances power flows and maintains the reliability of the power system. This quick response is becoming increasingly important to facilitate more renewable resources like wind and solar, whose output is variable in nature.

“Real-time, real-world experience with new sources of regulation will allow us to see how non-traditional resources behave,” said Paul Murphy, President and CEO of the IESO. “Engaging and empowering new participants will provide much needed flexibility in the way we run the power system, which is important in the context of our changing supply mix.”

Through a Request for Proposals issued earlier this year, the IESO sought to procure up to 10 megawatts (MW) of regulation from alternative sources such as dispatchable loads, aggregated demand response and storage technologies, including batteries and flywheels. To allow the IESO to acquire experience with a range of technologies, the RFP sought proposals from multiple vendors, each providing a small quantity of regulation.

The IESO has now entered contract negotiations with the three successful proponents. This procurement process is part of the IESO’s efforts to broaden access to Ontario’s electricity markets. These resources have significantly different operating characteristics than conventional units, allowing them to contribute to Ontario’s energy needs in different ways and complement the performance of existing generators.

The successful vendors include ENBALA Power Networks Inc., NRStor Incorporated and Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc. (RES Canada).

ENBALA Power Networks is a Canadian smart grid company that operates a demand-side storage network that creates a new revenue stream for businesses (such as water plants, cold storage facilities, universities and hospitals as well as other industrial, commercial and institutional facilities) to participate in providing flexibility to the electricity grid. ENBALA intelligently aggregates the inherent storage and flexibility in how loads use power to offer robust, reliable and resilient demand-side management solutions to the power system, increasing its efficiency and reliability.

“We are excited to work with the IESO to deliver regulation service to Ontario. Starting early 2013, ENBALA will deliver an aggregated network of demand-side storage, growing to four MW,” said Ron Dizy, President and CEO, ENBALA Power Networks. “The ENBALA Network has been operating and delivering regulation services to the PJM market for more than a year, and we are eager to deliver the same economical and environmental benefits to Ontario stakeholders and businesses.”

NRStor Inc., of Toronto, was established in 2012 to accelerate the commercialization of energy storage technologies. NRStor has partnered with Temporal Power, an Ontario developer of the world’s highest energy flywheel technology, and Ontario Power Generation, one of North America’s largest producers of electricity and a current provider of regulation service in Ontario. Together, NRStor, Temporal Power and OPG will deliver two MW of regulation service to the IESO by ensuring fast-response energy to optimally provide this grid-balancing service.

“We are thrilled that NRStor, in partnership with Temporal Power and Ontario Power Generation, has been awarded this contract with the IESO,” said Annette Verschuren, Chair and CEO of NRStor. “I congratulate the IESO on paving the way for new storage technologies to be commercially introduced on the grid.”

Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc. (RES Canada) offers a full suite of development and construction services for wind, solar, storage and transmission projects. Based in Montreal, with an office in Oakville, RES Canada has constructed several utility-scale FIT solar projects, as well as 210 MW of wind projects in Ontario.  RES Canada is currently building the 149.4 MW Halkirk Wind Project, the largest wind project ever constructed in Alberta, as well as the 345 km, 230 kilovolt (kV) Montana-Alberta Tie Line. RES Canada is part of the RES Group, a leading international renewable energy developer, and is an affiliate of RES Americas.

“We are delighted to have won the IESO’s competitive tender for regulation service, and look forward to delivering Ontario’s first battery regulation service,” said Peter Clibbon, VP of Development for RES Canada. “This project exemplifies the IESO’s forward thinking with regard to integrating renewables into the grid, and it will help maintain the IESO’s robust, reliable system.” The system will be installed in southwestern Ontario.