Solar-plus-storage vs grid enhancement

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The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) of Ontario, Canadian energy ministry Natural Resources Canada and Ontarian power provider Alectra Utilities will create an electricity market in the York region based on small scale PV, storage and smart energy consumption.

The pilot project is being considered as an alternative to expensive new transmission lines and stations and will nudge energy users to reduce consumption during periods of high demand.

“Electricity demand in York region is expected to grow and exceed system capability in the next 10 years, making it an ideal location to test how DERs [distributed energy resources] can provide affordable alternatives to building new transmission infrastructure,” said IESO in a statement.

Integration

The performance of the project will be analyzed by the partners to understand how the smaller electricity market can be integrated with that of Ontario, which IESO also wants to make more efficient through the use of capacity auctions.

“When we’re out talking to communities, one common theme we hear is a desire to have more choice in how their electricity needs are met,” said IESO vice-president of policy, engagement and innovation, Terry Young. “This pilot will help us learn if we can enable that choice while also reducing costs for Ontarians.”

Local distribution networks, according to IESO, have a 3.4 GW capacity, representing around 10% of the province’s total installed power generation capacity, which currently stands at approximately 36.9 GW.