Power utilities in Northern Canada have partnered to improve research and development of renewable energy technologies to stabilise their grid networks.Yukon Energy, ATCO Electric, Northwest Territories Power Corporation and Qulliq Energy announced their collaboration on the programme.
The power companies will provide $50,000 each per year to fund research and development of renewable energy technologies over the next five years.
The capital provided by the companies will be used to implement research and development of technologies to simplify integration of renewable energy onto the grid and avoid the use of diesel-fuelled power generation.
The funding provided by the utility consortium will be backed by money which the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada will invest towards the implementation of the programme.
Research and development of the technologies will be carried out by a group of colleges led by Yukon college.
The Northwest Territories Aurora College and Nunavut Arctic College will also participate in the project.
[quote] The programme will implement pilot projects on storage of energy generated from solar, wind, geothermal and small scale hydro-electricity sources.
In addition, the ability of smart meters to help utility firms improve their grid management, energy efficiency and optimise their revenue collection will also be trialled under the programme.
Michael Ross, chair of the utility consortium, said: "We want to advance the Northern energy industry.
"But we don't want to disrupt reliability," added Ross.
Andrew Hall, CEO of Yukon Energy, reiterated: "It's important to note that we, as small isolated-grid utilities, have a small number of customers and a small rate base. It's a real challenge for us individually to support research of this nature. So pooling our resources provides economies of scale."
Utility partnerships on renewable energy technologies
In late July, a consortium of Canada-based utilities and energy solution firms established an alliance to enhance the deployment of energy storage technologies in Alberta province.
The established Alberta Storage Alliance (ASA) will act as a platform to help stakeholders in the province’s energy landscape to ensure grid reliability through increased integration of renewable energy sources and storage systems with the grid.
ASA is made up of 12 members including S&C Electric, General Electric and Rocky Mountain Power.
The alliance will work with the Alberta Electric System Operator, the Alberta Utilities Commission, Market Surveillance Administrator and the Alberta government to help the Canadian province to record significant benefits from its Interconnected Electricity system. [Canada completes Ontario smart grid pilot].
Annette Verschuren, CEO of NRStor, said “These innovative technologies will be essential to meet the province's renewable energy objectives and can greatly optimise our existing infrastructure."
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