National Research Council of Canada announces renewable energy storage plan

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) this week announced its plans to integrate renewable energy storage – including solar PV – into its electricity grid.

The announcement came at the Renewable Energy Storage Summit, held on Monday in Toronto. The NRC’s Energy Storage for Grid Security and Modernization research program aims to accelerate the integration of solar power into the national grid by investing in modern storage technologies that will help its grid overcome current cost barriers to renewable power.

"This large-scale, multi-year,collaborative approach will deploy a critical mass of expertise in targeted areas to help resolve the reliability and affordability challenges of integrating new technologies into a modernized electricity grid," remarked Andy Reynolds, the NRC’s general manager of its energy, mining and environment portfolio. "This will help grow Canada’s renewable energy sector and create markets for enabling technology and material suppliers, including the mining industry."

The NRC warns that energy costs to customers could be affected in the immediate term as Canada’s electricity grid undergoes a major upgrade. The payoff, though, will be worth it: with more robust energy storage capabilities, renewable power becomes more reliable, meaning solar electricity can play its part in managing daily and seasonal variations in energy production and energy use.

Greater renewable storage will also provide opportunities for "peak shaving" (reducing consumption of traditional power during peak hours) and arbitrage (purchasing electricity when prices are low, and then storing it) – additional flexibility that will allow the grid to eventually reduce energy costs for end-users.