It’s been a good week for microgrids in Ontario. A second utility has announced plans to move forward with a project, this one a residential microgrid to be installed by Veridian Connections.
Wednesday’s announcement by Veridian followed release earlier in the week of a solicitation by Sault Ste. Marie for the next phase in development of its municipal microgrid.
“Investments by Ontario utilities into microgrid and DER aggregation platform technologies supports the province’s larger smart grid vision to develop emerging energy technologies and create jobs,” said Omar Saadeh, senior analyst, GTM Research.
Veridian Connections, which serves more than 119,000 customers in nine communities east and north of Toronto, plans to install two residential microgrids that will form a virtual power plant.
The residential microgrids are small, but designed to test out a system that can be expanded to more homes and connect more microgrids, according to the utility.
The initial project includes solar, electric vehicle charging and home energy storage.
One microgrid will be located at Veridian’s corporate headquarters in Ajax. The utility will use the site for public demonstration of the Tesla Powerwall home energy storage, a solar car port and EV charging. The second residential microgrid will be in a home yet to be selected; it too will include Powerwall battery and rooftop solar, according to Chris Mace, Veridian corporate communications representative.
Energy software provided by Opus One Solutions will connect the microgrids, and manage what the utility describes as a ‘grid of microgrids’ tied to Veridian’s operation systems.
The specific components to be used with the residential microgrids are: 10 kW solar generation, 14 kWh lithium-ion battery storage with a hybrid inverter; Level 2 and Level 3 electric vehicle charging – integrated with Veridian’s SCADA system – along with a customer information display at the utility’s Ajax corporate headquarters. In Pickering, the utility will install a 7 kWh Tesla Energy Daily Powerwall with solar and microgrid controls.
Veridian expects to commission the residential microgrids in the second quarter of this year.
Michael Angemeer, Veridian president and CEO, said that the microgrids will undertake a range of activities “from minimizing the cost of electricity under time-of-use rates, generating credits through the net metering program and responding to utility signals under demand response programs or an optimized combination of them all.”
The residential microgrids offer the ideal opportunity to integrate renewables with microgrid operations in Ontario, he said. In addition, the project creates a step toward “developing a system that will allow all types of microgrids to be added to an integrated system that will provide benefits for Veridian and improve the quality of life for our customers.”
Another Ontario utility, Powerstream, also has been developing residential microgrids.
GTM Research’s Saadeh noted that the Ontario municipal microgrids are tied to grid modernization efforts. However, Ontario also holds promise for remote microgrids with 38 of Canada’s approximately 300 remote communities located within the province.
“Though the Ontario microgrid market faces similar barriers to those encountered in the U.S. (e.g., legislative and regulatory), the province holds much promise for future microgrid and DER integration development,” Saadeh added.
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