Smart grid demonstration site launched at Science North

SMART GRID DEMONSTRATION SITE LAUNCHED
AT SCIENCE NORTH 

271016_ap_smart_grid1

Smart Grid project tests storage technology, allows energy “choices”

 

(SUDBURY, ON) – Science North today unveiled a renewable energy demonstration project funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Energy under Smart Grid Fund (SGF) and launched by the Honourable Glenn Thibeault, Minister of Energy and Member of Provincial Parliament for Sudbury.

The Smart Microgrid project will integrate Science North’s Building Energy Management System (BEMS) with advanced Energy Storage System (ESS), solar generated energy and an innovative energy distribution network enhanced with automated data analytics. The project gives the science centre greater influence over energy control, consumption and conservation.

The project lead applicant, eCAMION Inc., a Canadian company which develops and manufactures large-scale Energy Storage Systems, has partnered with local electrical distribution company Greater Sudbury Hydro Inc. (GHSi), grid automation company Opus One Solutions (Opus One), and Science North, Canada’s second largest science centre and most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ontario, to build the Smart Microgrid system at the science centre located on Ramsey Lake Road in Sudbury.

“This project will keep Sudbury and Science North on the cutting edge. It’s fantastic to see the level of collaboration demonstrated with this announcement, and I’m proud the Ministry of Energy could be involved. ‎It’s innovative work like this smart grid that will continue to drive down carbon emissions and consumer costs in Ontario,” said Glenn Thibeault, Minister of Energy and Member of Provincial Parliament for Sudbury.

Design and engineering of the project began in December 2014 and all components are expected to be fully operational by mid-November.  The total project cost is estimated at $3.12 million. Ontario’s Ministry of Energy’s SGF is a lead financial supporter for the project with the remaining financial support coming from the other project partners.  The SGF supports Ontario-based projects that test, develop and bring to market the next generation of smart grid solutions.

“This is a great opportunity for Science North to showcase leading-edge renewable energy technology. Greater Sudbury Hydro, eCAMION Inc. and Opus One are key players in the development of Smart Grids and the use of this emerging technology to enhance power system reliability.  We are delighted to be able to work with these industry leaders and are impressed by the strengths each partner brings to the table,” said Scott Lund, Chair of Science North’s Board of Trustees.

“One of our strategic goals is to decrease our carbon footprint so this is a tangible leap forward in that direction. The opportunity to create an exhibit about how this all works, as well as the benefits of a Smart Grid, makes this project even more exciting for us,” added Guy Labine, CEO of Science North.

This Demonstration project will show how the photo-voltaic (solar panel) array installed on the grounds of Science North can be used with the eCAMION Inc. Energy Storage System to lessen the science centre’s reliability on the grid.  The data analytics provided by Opus One’s GridOS® will constantly monitor Science North’s BEMS to better manage energy consumption throughout the centre and decrease the carbon footprint.  The ESS can be charged by solar power, or from the GSH grid at lower-cost off-peak times. That energy can then be stored to either lower demand from the grid in higher-cost on-peak periods or to power the facility directly.  The whole system is connected to the GSH grid to allow electricity to flow to and from the science centre, but the Smart Microgrid can also be “islanded” or disconnected from the grid.

In case of a power outage for instance, the Science North Smart Microgrid will run independently from Greater Sudbury Hydro’s local distribution grid so that energy stored in the battery can be diverted to critical functions in the science centre, such as maintaining the F. Jean MacLeod Butterfly Gallery.  In the case of the F. Jean MacLeod Butterfly Gallery, Science North has made a significant investment in order to create a climate-controlled exhibit that supports a multitude of butterflies, birds and tropical plants.  A power outage lasting more than one hour could be potentially harmful to the flora and fauna in the gallery.

“The growing interest of storing energy produced by Renewable Generation to be used when needed has shifted traditional power flow on the distribution system,” said Andrew Athanasopoulos, Lead Engineer on this project. “This paradigm shift from centralized generation to distributed generation throughout the distribution system, has introduced some interesting challenges for the industry. Taking part in projects such as this one allows us to be proactive, test those effects in a controlled way, and helps us modernize our electricity grid.”

“This is an incredible opportunity for eCAMION to field test our latest energy storage technology,” said Carmine Pizzurro, President of eCAMION Inc. “We are happy to be the project lead and system integrator, guaranteeing energy resilience and emergency power for Science North. The project will test advanced Smart Grid functions such as Global Adjustment (GA), voltage sag mitigation and more.  This partnership allows us to show the possibilities of the Smart Grid to the public and bring the technology to street level.”

“Our data analytics and automation software will provide breakthrough energy intelligence to the project,” said Joshua Wong, President and CEO of Opus One Solutions. “GridOS will analyze information from Science North’s Building Energy Management System, battery storage system, solar panels, and combine that with weather forecasting, electricity prices, grid performance, and make decisions on the fly to optimize Science North’s savings, and maximize the microgrid benefits to the facility and to the grid.”

 

About Science North

Science North is Northern Ontario’s most popular tourist attraction and an educational resource for children and adults across the province, operating the second- and eighth-largest science centres in Canada. Science North’s attractions include a science centre, IMAX® theatre, digital Planetarium, butterfly gallery, special exhibits hall, and Dynamic Earth – Home of the Big Nickel, a separate science centre focused on mining and earth sciences. In addition to the two science centres in Sudbury, Science North also oversees an award-winning-Large Format Film production unit, as well as an Exhibit Sales and Service unit, which develops custom and ready-made exhibits for sale or lease to science centres, museums, and other cultural institutions all over the world. Science North, in partnership with Laurentian University, has developed North America’s first and only comprehensive Science Communication program, a 10-month joint graduate diploma program. As part of its mandate, Science North provides science experiences throughout Northern Ontario including outreach to schools and festivals, summer science camps and more, and has a permanent base in Thunder Bay providing outreach to the Northwest. Science North is an agency of the Government of Ontario. For more information please visit sciencenorth.ca.

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