Canada invests in smart grids for Alberta

  • March 29, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

The Canadian government is investing more than $900,000 for two smart grid projects in Alberta that should enhance the energy grid and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The announcement was made by Jim Carr, special representative for the Prairies, on behalf of Seamus O’Regan Junior, Canada’s minister of natural resources.

“Funding innovative ideas to further lower emissions, increase competitiveness and modernise our energy grids in Canada is how we get to net zero by 2050,” said O’Regan.

Carr added: “Using innovation and technology to improve our grid will help decrease the demand on it and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our government will continue to support projects like this that advance a low-emissions energy future.”

The first investment of $495,000 is for Fortis Alberta to support the Waterton Energy Storage Project by showcasing how using a battery energy storage system and distribution control systems can provide reliable access to the grid with economic and social benefits for the community.

“This project will serve as an enhancement to the reliability of the electricity service for our customers in the somewhat remote community of Waterton in a way that also protects the environmentally sensitive landscape in the area,” said Todd Dettling, vice president of Fortis Alberta. “Thanks in part to the support of Natural Resources Canada, we are able to creatively meet this challenge using a battery energy storage system and a solar photovoltaic system in a novel microgrid application. We’re excited about the opportunity to leverage new technology to provide reliable, cost-effective service to our customers.”

The second investment of $413,250 is for Lethbridge Electric Utility to enhance its distribution network by using conservation voltage reduction software in its metering system to conserve energy and reduce demand on the energy grid, providing financial benefits to over 40,000 customers who rely on the network.

“Investing our capital dollars and our staff’s innovative leadership in data and power systems has allowed us to become the first jurisdiction in Canada to offer the enhanced grid efficiency enabled by conservation voltage reduction smart grid technology,” said Stewart Purkis, electric utility manager for the city of Lethbridge. “Funding from Natural Resources Canada’s smart grid fund has made it possible for us to demonstrate that this technology can reduce electrical energy consumption and greenhouse gases across our entire customer base without having to ask them to change their behaviour.”

Funding from Natural Resources Canada is part of Canada’s more than $180bn Investing in Canada Infrastructure programme for public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes and Canada’s rural and northern communities.