Canada’s largest battery storage facility to be built in Stratford
By the end of this year, a portion of Stratford will be running, at least partially, on battery power.
On June 15, Festival Hydro announced that it has partnered with Hecate Energy, Saturn Power, and EllisDon Construction and Building Services to build the largest battery storage facility in Canada, marking the first step towards creating a micro-grid in Stratford.
Planned for the Wright Business Park, the battery storage facility will be constructed on an acre of land next to the existing Festival Hydro transformer station. Using Powin Energy’s Stack140 energy storage system, the facility will house four lithium ion battery cell arrays – two with a capacity of two Megawatts, and two with a capacity of 2.4 Megawatts.
Together, the battery cell arrays will provide a storage capacity of 8.8 Megawatts, which translates to 40.8 Megawatt hours of available energy – enough to supply more than 10,000 homes with electricity for an hour.
“What this does is it allows us to take energy off the grid at non-peak times – so, for example it can charge up during the night as you would with your cellphone. Then, you now have the energy stored to be able to put it back on the grid when you need it for peak reduction,” said Ysni Semsedini, CEO of Festival Hydro.
By having the ability to store power overnight and discharge it during the day, Semsedini said the battery storage facility will help reduce demand on Festival Hydro’s central generation system during peak hours.
“Over time, if you strategically located these through your service territory, you could start bringing down the amount of infrastructure you might need, or the sizing of that infrastructure, to be able to provide a more balanced load-low through your system,” Semsedini said.
By relying less on the central generation system, the battery storage facility would not only help with peak reduction, but it would also assist with voltage stability.
“I equate it to using a vacuum in your house. If you need a lot of load really quickly, you’ll notice the lights dim in your house. So, a battery there can supplement that draw of electricity through the system and support the voltage level so people get a better voltage quality,” Semsedini said.
The improved voltage stability provided by the incoming battery storage facility will also ensure that customers in that south industrial area of the city will not experience a reduction in voltage quality when Festival Hydro has to switch those customers to another transformer elsewhere in the city in order to complete maintenance or repairs on the transformer station in the Wright Business Park.
According to Semsedini, the four battery cell arrays that will be used in the battery storage facility are among the first batch of power storage projects distributed through an open procurement process by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) – the organization that manages Ontario’s power system in real time and plans for the province’s future energy needs.
“They’re looking at how battery storage is going impact the whole Ontario system. So the study’s important for us in Stratford, but it’s also important for the province as a whole,” Semsedini said.
Among the successful bidders for IESO’s battery storage projects was Hecate Energy. In order to build a battery storage facility, Hecate had to find a community in which the local power distribution company owned a transformer that has the capacity to take on this storage project.
Luckily for Stratford, Festival Hydro completed a $15.8 million transformer station in the Wright Business Park back in 2013.
“Now you can see this investment paying dividends already in terms of the selection of the battery storage facility to come here, as opposed to somewhere else,” Semsedini said.
As the new transformer station has already attracted industrial development in the south end of the city, Semsedini expects the addition of the battery storage facility to increase that industrial interest in Stratford even more.
“What we’re hoping to work towards, in time, is a micro-grid solution to look at, can we put in solar there as well and have a true micro-grid operating in the heart of our industrial park?” Semsedini said. “It would be something very unique to Stratford.”
Construction of the battery storage facility is expected to be complete by the end of August, after which the battery cell arrays will be transported to the building and installed. Semsedini expects the storage facility to be up and running by October or November.
“This just speaks to the fact that Stratford is on the radar for large companies making technology and innovative investments, and they want to be here,” Stratford Mayor Dan Mathieson said.
“With infrastructure investments in key infrastructure like transformers, you always look at them to be long-term paybacks. With this one, through good management at Festival Hydro, it’s paying back much quicker and, in the end, helping to aid in the development of Stratford economically.”