Energy storage in Ontario – Where do we stand?
Since the release of last Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP), in 2013, the share of wind, solar, and bioenergy capacity in Ontario’s supply mix has grown from 9 per cent to over 18 per cent. Increased utilization of renewables, especially when integrated with local generation systems, can avoid or mitigate a host of energy system challenges from climate change to rural access to required transmission grid improvements. But the pricing regime behind storage is complex and not yet entirely settled. Unfortunately, although there is tremendous hope in the market, Ontario’s most recent LTEP last month, doesn’t add any particular clarity on the topic.
The task of better integrating renewables into existing energy infrastructure is an Ontario-specific problem. New York, California, Quebec, Bermuda, Great Britain, Germany -and a host of other energy jurisdictions where Gowling WLG lawyers are active globally- are facing the same challenges. One of the goals the Canadian government is pursuing is the improvement of remote-area service quality. In metropolitan regions of the country, clients experience less than two hours of service outages each year, whereas rural areas can be without power for up to 20 hours during a 12-month period. While the smart-grid can help detect, locate, and remedy outages more quickly, the frequency regulation that comes with energy storage would be much more seamless.
Although the media spotlight has been focused south of the border, there’s much development happening right here in Canada. Eguana Technologies, operating out of Calgary, Alberta, for instance, is leading the charge in the battery-backed solar energy world and already supplying battery systems to places like Germany and Hawaii. However, disincentives at home are stifling demand, and failing to enable full utilization of renewables….