Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) has launched the Energy Storage for Grid Security and Modernization research program to investigate the technical and cost barriers to grid-scale energy storage and accelerate the integration of renewable energy technologies.

Canada’s electricity grid will require significant maintenance and upgrades over the next 20 years, which could raise energy costs for consumers. The energy storage initiative will explore energy storage technologies that are close to the load, working toward a solution that will defer the costs of transmission and distribution renewal, while stabilizing the generation of intermittent renewable energy, and enabling peak shaving and arbitrage.

Issues that will be addressed include the poor durability, high cost and high risk to end users of energy storage technologies, all of which are currently hampering their development and deployment in the marketplace.

Specific goals include:

  • A cost reduction for energy storage technologies of at least 50%, from the current $1000/kWh to under $500/kWh (energy rating) and from the current $2500/kW to less than $1250/kW (power rating)
  • A doubling of the operating lifetime from today's five to seven years to >15 years.

“This large-scale, multi-year, collaborative approach will deploy a critical mass of expertise in targeted areas to help resolve the reliability and affordability challenges of integrating new technologies into a modernized electricity grid,” said Andy Reynolds, general manager of the Energy, Mining and Environment portfolio at NRC. “This will help grow Canada’s renewable energy sector and create new markets for enabling technology and material suppliers, including the mining industry.”

The program establishes new collaborative and co-investment opportunities for the energy storage value chain, including material and technology developers and suppliers, systems integrators, utilities, independent power producers and other end-users.

Clients and collaborators will have access to world-class competencies and state-of-the-art facilities located at NRC sites across the country, including the full-time dedicated efforts of 35 researchers based in Ottawa and Vancouver. Energy storage efforts will be focused around client-driven research and development, demonstration and validation, and strategic support to facilitate market adoption.