Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Schneider opens smart grid laboratory in Toronto

Steve Rogerson
March 16, 2015
The Schneider Electric Smart Grid Laboratory opened this month in Toronto. The facility, Canada's first university-based smart grid laboratory, is available to partners and collaborators seeking to test products or operational strategies, validate grid transformation, conduct research and train employees.
This is a joint project between Schneider Electric, Ryerson University and the Ontario Ministry of Energy. The laboratory is at Ryerson's Centre for Urban Energy in Toronto. The laboratory was sponsored by the Ministry of Energy and funded in part through the Ontario Smart Grid Fund initiative.
"Building a smarter electricity grid is a key part of our government's plan to modernise Ontario's energy infrastructure and provide clean, reliable affordable power to consumers, " said Bob Chiarelli, Ontario minister of energy. "Supporting Ryerson's Centre for Urban Energy, and the development of the Schneider Electric Smart Grid Lab, we are setting the stage for innovations that will be the backbone for our energy system for future generations."
The laboratory can replicate the operation of a substation and feeders of an electrical utility distribution system. It has core infrastructure that supports organisations in the research and development of systems pertaining to smart grid technology.
"Smart grids are the future of power in Canada," said Léonce Fraser, vice president of Schneider Electric Canada. "Pilot projects and testing will play a key role in building out the smart grid and we want to help companies with smart grid products, utilities and educators build a better future for Canadian energy."
PowerStream will be the first utility to make use of the laboratory by creating a physical replica of three feeders from its Greenwood transformer station in Vaughan. PowerStream will test its system under different renewable energy scenarios and explore practical solutions to problems such as reverse flows on feeders. This will include the role of electricity storage devices in reducing line losses and increasing the capacity for renewable energy. The utility will also test how to reduce customer energy costs through power controls.
"PowerStream has been a utility leader in the development and implementation of smart grid technologies for the benefit of our customers and communities we serve," said Brian Bentz, CEO and president of PowerStream."Our success has been largely due to the outstanding partners that have worked with us on many of these initiatives and we see the same unfolding for this project as well.”
In addition to acting as a facility for collaborative industrial research and testing, the laboratoty will give the next generation of smart grid engineers, scientists, planners and operators hands-on experience in a utility environment. Colleges and universities can take advantage of the centre to provide real-world training for students, research and collaboration with industry.
"The Centre for Urban Energy is dedicated to solving urban energy problems and the Schneider Electric Smart Grid Lab provides an ideal opportunity for utilities and entrepreneurs to test new processes and products in a real-world environment," said Sheldon Levy, president of Ryerson University. "It also provides a perfect setting for utilities to train their employees on new systems and for students to learn how the next-generation energy grid works."