(Nov. 25, 2020) — Homeowners, supermarket operators, manufacturers and other local organizations are stepping up to compete to provide electricity supply in York Region. This diverse group of providers have been selected through an auction to help meet growing local energy needs by either generating electricity on site or reducing their electricity use on demand. Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has partnered with Alectra Utilities to launch a ground-breaking electricity market that will test new supply options to address accelerating demand that is likely to exceed local system capabilities within the next 10 years.
Providers include aggregated residential customers with controllable smart thermostats, some of the region’s larger industrial consumers, and small-scale generators. They will earn revenue by committing to be available to provide energy when it’s needed and then reducing peaks when demand is high.
This 10MW demonstration project is focused on the southern-most part of the region, including Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan. If requirements are met, this model could be replicated in other areas of the province experiencing rapid growth and system constraints.
Local energy assets – including small-scale generation, storage and demand response – known as distributed energy resources, currently make up about 10 per cent of Ontario’s electricity production capacity. These resources are changing the dynamic of power grids, which have traditionally relied on large generators producing power that is then transmitted across long distances into communities and homes.
Many communities across North America are considering ways in which these local assets could defer or eliminate the need to build costly new high-voltage power lines or stations. As the province begins to see its electricity surplus reduced in the years ahead, they could provide affordable alternatives to traditional solutions that rely on expanding transmission infrastructure.
With total funding of $10 million from the IESO’s Grid Innovation Fund and NRCan, this project will run from 2021 to 2022. The winning participants are listed below.
“Over the past few years, we have worked closely with communities across Ontario to help us understand the role they can play in meeting their own energy needs” said Terry Young, Interim President and CEO of the IESO. “York Region is one of the fastest growing areas in the province. This local electricity market pilot will allow us to enable innovative solutions to help meet that growing electricity demand affordably while providing us with significant learnings that other communities can benefit from.”
“We are thrilled with the results of last week’s auction,” said Brian Bentz, President and CEO of Alectra Inc. “The amount of interest from the market and the diversity of the successful resources shows tremendous potential for using local solutions as a cost-effective alternative to traditional electricity infrastructure.”
“This new program has made our participation as an aggregator much easier and will allow for more participants to supply electricity resources into the grid in the future,” said Behdad Bahrami, Founder/CEO, Edgecom Energy. “The NWA pilot is an all-around win for competitiveness in Ontario and we are excited to help our clients provide their DERs into the Alectra grid.”
“We are thrilled to be part of this new local market,” said Atal Walia, Director of Operations at Tyco Poly Inc. “It gives us the opportunity to bring forward a new revenue stream and help manage growing local energy needs.”