In Canada, the Independent Electricity System Operator for the state of Ontario has selected a utility-scale renewable energy developer for a demand response pilot programme.

IESO, responsible for directing the operation of the bulk electrical system, will use Renewable Energy Systems Canada’s smart grid technology

The aim of the demand response pilot is to shape the electricity consumption profile of commercial energy users such as supermarkets and retail chains.

The structure of the pilot will enable the IESO to integrate a diverse portfolio of pilot projects with varying characteristics, including scheduling type (hourly or five-minute), commitment type (unit commitment or no unit commitment) and curtailment plan type (behind-the-meter generation or load reduction).

Demand response pilot for reliability

Bruce Campbell, president and CEO of Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator, said: "This pilot marks an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to stimulate greater demand-side engagement in Ontario's energy markets.

"Electricity consumers can make important contributions to reliability, and by working with a range of demand response providers, we hope to get a better understanding of the capabilities of demand response to provide service that is now only provided by generators and other suppliers."

The awarding of the contract follows the IESO issuing a request for proposal in April 2015 to supply the Crown corporation with a better understanding of how demand response resources' can provide services that are currently provided by generators and other suppliers.

RES said it is seeking additional commercial energy users to take part in this and future demand response pilot programmes in Ontario.

Smart grid development

The Canadian state of Ontario has advanced its smart grid sector this year with the opening of the Schneider Electric Smart Grid laboratory at Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Energy in Toronto, was officially opened this week.

A collaboration between the Ministry of Energy, Schneider Electric and Ryerson University, the laboratory is available to partners and collaborators looking to “test new products or operational strategies, validate grid transformation solutions, conduct research and train employees” for smart grid technology.

The Schneider Electric Smart Grid lab is Canada’s first university-based smart grid testbed and has the infrastructure to replicate the operation of a substation and feeders of an electrical distribution system.