Ontario picks energy storage projects for grid balancing
December 6, 2017
Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has announced that two new energy storage facilities have been selected through a competitive process to help support the reliability, flexibility and efficiency of the province's electricity grid.
The successful parties – Hecate Energy Ontario Storage and Saturn Power – will provide a combined 55MW of regulation service, a grid-balancing function that corrects for short-term changes in electricity use that might affect the reliability of the power system. These projects also represent one of the largest reductions in per-unit regulation costs since Ontario's electricity market opened.
Regulation service helps compensate for real-time supply and demand imbalances. It is a requirement under North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NPCC) standards. The 55MW procured through this process will complement the 100MW of regulation service that is typically scheduled every hour to help ensure the reliable operation of the power system.
When regulation is required, the IESO sends an automated signal to the regulation provider, instructing them to adjust the production or consumption of their facility within a designated timeframe, often measured in seconds.
Under the 2017 regulation request for proposals (RFP), the IESO received 42 submissions representing approximately 350MW of regulation capacity from a variety of existing and new build facilities, including energy storage and waterpower facilities. The RFP process was administered by the IESO and overseen by an external fairness advisor.
"Our energy system continues to evolve with new players, technologies and changing demand patterns, and as Ontario's reliability coordinator, we are always looking at new ways to manage the changing conditions on the power system," said Leonard Kula, the IESO's chief operating officer. "The important grid-balancing function of regulation service has historically been provided by generators. Today, we are seeing the increasing participation of emerging technologies like storage to cost-effectively help meet our operational needs,"
The IESO's 2016 Operability Assessment identified a need to increase the amount of regulation service scheduled each hour to assist with real-time system operation needs. Following this RFP, the IESO may seek additional regulation suppliers based on updated assessments.
The IESO manages the province's power system so Ontarians receive power when and where they need it. It plans and prepares for future electricity needs and works with its partners to guide conservation efforts. The IESO is also leading a market renewal programme, which will enhance the way electricity is priced, scheduled and procured to meet Ontario's current and future energy needs.