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    Hitachi ABB Power Grids Accelerates Canada’s Sustainable Energy Future with First Nation Microgrid

  • Apr 20, 2021

    Hitachi ABB Power Grids Ltd. announced that microgrids projects with ATCO and Three Nations Energy (3NE) have been recognized by Canada’s Clean50 ( as eminent examples of collaborations directly contributing to the nations’ low-carbon economy. 3NE is an indigenous corporation wholly owned by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, the Mikisew Cree First Nation, and the Metis Association – Local 125.
    Carolina Gallo, Hitachi ABB Power Grids’ head of government and institutional relations for Canada, was also recognized as a Clean50 leader for her work driving campaigns to advance sustainability, such as promoting electrical infrastructure to decarbonize cities and working with First Nations to establish microgrids.
    First Nation Sustainability
    “Canada’s Clean50 Top Project Awards are amongst the awards announced annually by Delta Management Group and the Canada’s Clean50 organization, to recognize the best sustainability-oriented projects completed in Canada over the prior two years,” said Gavin Pritchford. “Delta’s criteria in determining Project awards is to carefully consider a combination of actual measurable impact, demonstrated innovation, and the project’s ability to inspire others to imitate it – and the Fort Chipewyan Off-Grid Solar Project completed by Hitachi ABB Power Grids, ATCO, and 3NE is a terrific example.”

    Fort Chipewyan, an isolated community of 1,200 people in northern Alberta, Canada, sits on the shore of Lake Athabasca and is Alberta’s oldest established community.  However, it is not connected to the main power grid and has previously relied on burning expensive diesel fuel for all of its electricity production, which depends on a shrinking window of winter ice road access for delivery.

    In 2019, the community took steps to reduce its environmental impacts and gain energy independence. 3NE secured approval to develop and own Canada’s largest remote community solar and storage microgrid project. The project was developed in cooperation with ATCO, a global essential services company based in Alberta, and the local electricity utility for the North and East-Central regions of the Province who provided engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services, including design, construction, and maintenance of the system.

    When fully operational, the project will consist of approximately 2600 kW of solar PV generation capacity, reducing diesel consumption by 800,000 liters per year. The solar farm is expected to deliver 2.6 MW of generation capacity. This output is enough energy to fully power an estimated 450 average Albertan homes for a year* and meet about 25% of the community’s electricity needs over an average year.
    The Hitachi ABB Power Grids solution includes 1600kVA/1600kWh PowerStore™ Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) and e-mesh™ Microgrid Controls. Together, the BESS and controls will store excess solar generation during the day and return it to the local grid to meet demand in the evening or subsequent cloudy day maximizing fuel savings and avoided costs and greenhouse gas emissions. The control system can turn off all four diesel generators, when possible, allowing Fort Chipewyan to be 100% powered by clean renewable energy. Hitachi ABB Power Grids collaborated closely with ATCO and 3NE to understand the unique needs of the community and the long-term intent of the project to maximize both energy output and reduce dependence on diesel.

    “We are already seeing the impacts of Climate Change on the Peace Athabasca Delta. Yes, our Nations are dependent for jobs and investment revenues on the prosperity of the oil sands but that doesn’t mean forcing us into a false choice between a strong fossil fuel industry and protecting climate and the environment. We can do both. It all starts with what we do here at home, cleaning up our own emissions like this solar farm will do for electricity in Fort Chip.” Chief Allan Adam – Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
    “Looking ahead, we intend to replicate this innovative model in similar communities, enabling remote and Indigenous communities across Canada to achieve greater energy autonomy and to lower environmental impacts. This landmark project is a testament to ATCO’s commitment to building respectful and mutually beneficial relationships with our Indigenous partners and communities to develop sustainable energy solutions. We have fostered world-class innovation with a keen eye for integration of emerging technology, including initiatives in renewable energy, energy efficiency, low-carbon transportation, and overall energy systems—for homes and businesses both down the road and in remote communities,” added ATCO’s President of Electricity, Melanie Bayley.
    “Both ATCO and Hitachi ABB Power Grids realize the importance of collaboration and engagement with 3NE to ensure the success of the project,” added Bill Strohecker, Canada Country Managing Director for Hitachi ABB Power Grids in Canada. “Together, these efforts build on 3NE’s view toward a more reliable, sustainable, and energy-independent future in Canada.”

    About Hitachi ABB Power Grids Ltd.

    Hitachi ABB Power Grids is a global technology leader with a combined heritage of almost 250 years, employing around 36,000 people in 90 countries. Headquartered in Switzerland, the business serves utility, industry and infrastructure customers across the value chain, and emerging areas like sustainable mobility, smart cities, energy storage and data centers. With a proven track record, global footprint and unparalleled installed base, Hitachi ABB Power Grids balances social, environmental and economic values. It is committed to powering good for a sustainable energy future, with pioneering and digital technologies, as the partner of choice for enabling a stronger, smarter and greener grid.

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