Ontario Presses Ahead with RFPs, CHP, Storage, Microgrid…

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Ontario is pressing ahead with new utility requirements, solicitations and pilot projects to spur energy efficiency, combined heat and power, microgrids, energy storage and other demand-side efforts.

The Ministry of Energy has put in place a new “Conservation First Framework” to save 7,000,000 MWh from Jan. 2015 through the end of Jan. 2020.  It requires that utilities file plans with the Ontario Power Authority by May 1, 2015 showing how they will achieve all cost-effective energy efficiency for  customers. The OPA will fund the program.

Separately, the Ministry of Energy has ordered the OPA to design a 150-MW solicitation for combined heat and power.  The OPA must seek projects that are up to 20 MW and provide thermal energy to hosts.  The province will focus on two types of CHP projects: district energy systems and agricultural CHP.

The plan calls for a 100 MW CHP solicitation this year and a second solicitation in 2015 that will seek the balance of the generation.

Ontario already has a 35-MW solicitation for energy storage underway, the first phase of a  50-MW procurement. Proposals are due  April 28 to the Independent Energy System Operator. The grid operator will use the energy storage either for regulation service or for reactive support and voltage control.

The Ontario Power Authority will lead the second request for proposals for the remaining energy storage. No date has been announced for the second RFP. But  in a March 31 letter to the OPA, Bob Chiarelli, Ontario’s energy minister, called for its release as soon as possible so that the OPA can enter into contracts with winners by end of September.  The full letter is here.

Separately, a much-watched microgrid demonstration project is underway in Ontario by utility PowerStream. GE recently announced that it is providing the project’s microgrid control system.

Located at PowerStream’s corporate headquarters north of Toronto, the 7-kW project is testing microgrid for residential customers. It  serves demand from lighting, air conditioning, refrigeration  and electric vehicle charging. Power comes from wind, solar, a natural-gas generator and energy storage devices.

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GE’s contribution to the system includes its Grid IQ Microgrid Control System and its Durathon Battery technology. The MSC integrates renewable energy with conventional fossil based generators, optimizes dispatch, and enables integration of Volt/VAR controls.

“The GE MCS will give PowerStream the ability to monitor, track and forecast load, generation and storage resources throughout the microgrid. By maximizing the use of distributed energy resources, PowerStream will be able to provide power in the most economical method possible,” said Juan Macias, general manager, grid automation, GE’s Digital Energy business.

GE  provided engineering design services for the microgrid, as well. EnergyEfficiencyMarkets.com featured the Vaughan, Ontario microgrid project here, in an interview with the RoseWater Energy Group.

Check back here for postings on Ontario’s demand-side RFPs as they are released.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com and EnergyEfficiencyMarkets.com. She has been writing about energy for more than two decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.