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Canada: Ontario’s economic growth depends on Long-Duration Energy Storage

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Long-term energy storage (LDES) Energy storage resources (ESRs) Ontario's energy sector transformation Government policies for energy storage Decarbonization goals

Ontario’s energy sector and electricity grid are anticipated to undergo a significant transformation over the following three decades after years of consistency, which naturally leaves plenty of room for innovation. Long-term energy storage ( LDES ) may be experiencing more than other types because there are significantly fewer instances of LDES assets being deployed or connected to major grids, aside from pumped hydro. This is despite the fact that all types and technologies of energy Storage are undergoing significant innovation in their composition and application.

Ontario's economic growth depends on Long-Duration Energy Storage

LDES in the future

However, as Ontario, like some other regions, gets ready to secure two or three times its current generating capacity and achieve its ambitious decarbonization goals, long-term storage technologies are poised to be one of the crucial technologies supporting the changes to its grid. A significant challenge will be changing the mix of resources supplying energy to the province, with a focus on non-emitting resources, such as renewables like wind, renewable, and hydro, fresh grid-scale and little compact nuclear assets, as well as emerging resources like hydrogen and geothermal. Extraordinary levels of peak electricity demand will be driven by the often concurrent demand for charging EVs or operating heat pumps as we electrify heating and transportation, adding to the strain on our power grids.

Ontario will need a wider range of energy storage resources as its generation capacity increases and its electricity demand rises to new heights in order to provide the province with the power it requires when it needs it. A crucial element of this mixture will be long-term assets, which are loosely defined as assets capable of discharging energy for a period of ten or more hours. In fact, a recent report from Energy Storage Canada ( ESC ) and created by Dunsky Energy &amp, Climate Advisors, suggests that starting in 2032, energy storage should have at least six gigawatts ( GW ) of + 10-hour duration. This could reduce potential supply, planning, and deployment risks and result in savings of between$ 11 billion and$ 20 billion compared to Ontario’s current transition plans.

Empowering Ontario’s Grid Transformation: Government Strategies for Energy Storage Innovation

Fortunately, the Ontario government recently collaborated closely with the Independent Electricity System Operator ( IESO ) to adopt a bold strategy for regulatory and market reforms to make it possible to deploy energy storage resources ( ESRs ). The province reached a significant milestone last summer when the IESO purchased the largest amount of energy storage capacity in Canada, over 880 MW. This was the first phase of an eventual 2,500-MW addition, one of the most optimistic such projects anywhere in North America. According to a ESC-commissioned report from 2022, the province may require up to four to six gigawatts ( GW ) of short-term storage, which is typically defined as assets capable of discharging energy for six hours or less, as part of Ontario’s transition to net zero.

Energy storage resources ( ESRs ) are crucial for Ontario’s future grid because they can all, whenever necessary, draw power during high generation times, store it, and then release it to the grid when it is most needed. This lowers costs and lessens system stress. From well-known hydroelectric dams to lithium-ion batteries, as well as a wide range of cutting-edge designs like compressed air and hot salt, ESRs include many different technologies, durations, and lifespans. In order to ensure that electricity can be used to power the province’s expanding, energy-intensive industrial and natural resources sectors, these assets will be crucial in reducing incidences of surplus baseload generation ( SBG ) – times when the provincial power resources are generating more than is consumed or economically exported. These grid-scale batteries will also function as” Non-WiresAlternatives” ( NWAs ), removing transmission restrictions at a fraction of the price and time spent building conventional poles and wires expansions.

Together, batteries and different energy storage resources are accelerating the pace at which the province can achieve an emissions-free power system and reducing the need for healthy gas-fired generation capacity. The majority of energy storage resources can even support the municipal grid during severe weather conditions, including “black-start” functionality that can turn on the lights in the event of a system-wide power outage. However, as Ontario generates more non-emitting energy, particularly intermittent resources ( such as wind or solar ), and peak demand rises, the province will require a larger inventory of LDES resources to guarantee that its grid is still dependable even when the wind and sun aren’t blowing.

With fresh modeling from Dunsky Energy &amp, Climate Advisors, which illustrates the specific benefits that investing in LDES assets can provide, Energy Storage Canada’s report is the first to go beyond speculating the possible use cases for LDE technologies to research the possible scope of investment for Ontario as the province decarbonizes.

Strategizing Long-Term Energy Storage (LDES) Implementation

Dunsky analyzed the most likely risks in those scenarios using the IESO’s Pathways t Decarbonization ( P2D ) study from December 2022 as a starting point. He quantified the cost of failing to meet our planning, procurement, construction, and import objectives in comparison to the alternative costs of acquiring LDES assets. A minimum of six GW of LDES capacity would be financially advantageous starting in 2032, according to Dunsky’s evaluation of the professional readiness and value proposition of MADE as a “guardrail” for the economic growth and decarbonization journey of Ontario.

But, LDES technologies typically have long lead times for development compared to the majority of short-term energy storage technologies purchased in Ontario to date, so we need to start planning now to make sure the assets are attainable when we require them. Once more, Ontario is moving ahead of many different areas in recognizing the significance of planning ahead if it wants to take advantage of LDES technologies. Todd Smith, the province’s minister of energy, wrote to the IESO next month requesting that they continue collaborating with supporters of the most cutting-edge LDES projects in the region, including the 1, 400 MW Meaford and Marmora pumped liquid projects.

The development of these two projects should only mark the beginning of a much larger capacity addition over the following ten years, as Dunsky’s report makes apparent. The importance of pursuing inventive solutions and technologies, such as long-term energy storage, will grow as the province’s grid undergoes a massive transformation and modernization in the coming decades to meet its energy needs, integrating fresh assets in new ways. Even though 2032 is eight years apart, now is the time to take action.

Energy Storage Canada’s all: Initiating 6-GW Procurement for LDES

In order to achieve this, Energy Storage Canada is requesting from the IESO that it formally commit this year to starting a six-GW procurement process in 2025. The need to start the process now is demonstrated by a number of factors, including the availability of Canada’s Clean Technology Investment Tax Credits ( ITCs ) for projects completed before 2032, the lengthy lead time required for prospective proponents to establish positive relationships with Ontario municipalities, to forge equitable and advantageous partnerships with the provinces ‘ First Nations communities, and the security of supply chain commitments in an aggressive global market.

The Ministry of Energy and the IESO will continue working with Energy Storage Canada and our members to advance the ground-breaking research on long-term energy storage and all storage technologies. In the coming decades, the integration of LDES could build on Ontario’s energy storage advantage and guarantee the province will continue to have a dependable, long-lasting, and adaptable energy supply.

Verónica Castro-Allende

With a rich background in urban technology and IoT, Veronica brings a unique blend of expertise and innovation to our platform. Her work focuses on integrating advanced engineering solutions into smart city infrastructures, emphasizing sustainable and efficient urban development. Her insightful contributions shed light on the future of urban living, blending technical prowess with practical urban applications

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