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    New Pilot Program Taps into Local Homes and Businesses to Help Meet York Region's Growing Energy Needs

  • Nov 25, 2020

    Homeowners, supermarket operators, manufacturers and other local organizations are stepping up to compete to provide electricity supply in York Region. This diverse group of providers have been selected through an auction to help meet growing local energy needs by either generating electricity on site or reducing their electricity use on demand.

    Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has partnered with Alectra Utilities to launch a ground-breaking electricity market that will test new supply options to address accelerating demand that is likely to exceed local system capabilities within the next 10 years.

    Providers include aggregated residential customers with controllable smart thermostats, some of the region's larger industrial consumers, and small-scale generators. They will earn revenue by committing to be available to provide energy when it's needed and then reducing peaks when demand is high.

    This 10 megawatt (MW) demonstration project is focused on the southern-most part of the region, including Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan. If requirements are met, this model could be replicated in other areas of the province experiencing rapid growth and system constraints.

    Local energy assets – including small-scale generation, storage and demand response – known as distributed energy resources, currently make up about 10 per cent of Ontario's electricity production capacity. These resources are changing the dynamic of power grids, which have traditionally relied on large generators producing power that is then transmitted across long distances into communities and homes.

    Many communities across North America are considering ways in which these local assets could defer or eliminate the need to build costly new high-voltage power lines or stations. As the province begins to see its electricity surplus reduced in the years ahead, they could provide affordable alternatives to traditional solutions that rely on expanding transmission infrastructure.

    With total funding of $10 million from the IESO's Grid Innovation Fund and NRCan, this project will run from 2021 to 2022. The winning participants are listed below.

    Name

    Local Capacity Obligation (kW)

    Edgecom Energy Inc.

    3,000

    Markham District Energy Inc.

    2,900

    EnergyHub Canada ULC

    1,200

    Longo Brothers Fruit Markets Inc.

    1,000

    GC Project LP

    1,000

    Tyco Poly Inc.

    500

    NRG Curtailment Solutions Canada, Inc.

    400

    About the IESO

    The IESO operates Ontario's power grid 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, ensuring Ontarians receive a reliable and cost-effective source of power when and where they need it. It works with sector partners and engages with communities across Ontario to plan and prepare for the province's electricity needs now and into the future. Visit www.ieso.ca for more information.

    About Alectra

    Serving more than one million homes and businesses in Ontario's Greater Golden Horseshoe area, Alectra Utilities is now the largest municipally-owned electric utility in Canada, based on the total number of customers served. It contributes to the economic growth and vibrancy of the 17 communities it serves by investing in essential energy infrastructure, delivering a safe and reliable supply of electricity, and providing innovative energy solutions. Alectra's mission is to be an energy ally, helping their customers and the communities they serve to discover the possibilities of tomorrow's energy future.

    SOURCE: Independent Electricity System Operator