June 17, 2014
By allowing large-scale power consumers to reschedule their use of energy, tapping into reserves only when necessary, energy storage devices make for a new paradigm in how and when energy is used. Energy storage technologies are changing the way American companies manage their power supplies but the benefits of energy storage extend beyond the United States. As a recent news release indicated Canada is also taking notice of energy storage. According to the Digital Journal, the Ministry of Energy in Ontario has released a long-term plan that includes one of the most significant commitments to energy storage to date in Canada.
Big move in Ontario
Specifically, the government has announced that energy storage technologies will be part of the process of procuring power within one year, to the tune of 50 megawatts by the end of 2014. In addition, Ontario is commissioning a study on the value of these technologies. Their goal is to assess the economic effects of relying more on storage than depleting fossil fuels.
Bruce Campbell, President and CEO of Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) remarked, "Procuring energy storage services is another demonstration of how Ontario is at the forefront of emerging energy developments."
"Governments around the world have accepted that energy storage is vital to our energy future," Paul Valenta, CALMAC said. "Now it's up to our building owners, engineers and architects to get on board with how energy storage technologies are a smart choice that will benefit the grid, planet and profit margins."
The Ontario government also announced a few other similar initiatives - more net metering, conservation programs and the reexamination of some regulatory barriers that have previously impeded storage. Furthermore, renewable energy has been established as a clear priority for future power plans.
Ice storage up north?
There's been a lot of talk about such inventions as flywheels, batteries and compressed air energy storage playing a major role in Canada's plans. Ice storage in buildings can be a major consideration as well. After all, ice storage is proven to work in Canadian facilities such as the Yardmen Arena, G.M. Administration Building, Gravenhurst Opera House, Ship Centre and Place Des Arts. Canada has hot summers with high air-conditioning demands, making ice storage an invaluable resource.
The beauty of all types of energy storage is that they make renewable sources of energy - such as wind and solar power - more viable. Ontario has made renewable energy a major point of emphasis, and ice storage should greatly accelerate the movement toward a smarter, greener future.