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Pole-mounted pilot improving energy storage in Toronto

Steve Rogerson
July 18, 2017



A pole-mounted energy storage system in Toronto's North York neighbourhood is showing positive results in the early stages of a pilot programme.
 
Put into service in August 2016, this energy storage system is mounted to the top of an existing hydro pole. The system stores energy during off-peak hours and releases power as needed.
 
The project team is monitoring how the technology responds to real-time data. From initial results, the energy storage system has demonstrated an ability to reduce strain on the local transformer. The pilot continues to run and, if successful, could become a standard that's rolled out with all new installations on the more than 175,000 poles across the city.
 
Toronto Hydro is exploring energy storage as a way to extend the lifespan of some of its equipment. This energy storage device can also act as a temporary source of back-up power during outages.
 
"This is another example of a creative and innovative energy storage system being installed on our grid,” said Anthony Haines, president and CEO of Toronto Hydro. “We're focused on supporting collaborative projects like this one as it contributes to an integrated electricity system better designed to handle peak demand and improve reliability for our customers."
 
This project was made possible with support from Ontario's Smart Grid Fund, which helps those at the leading edge of the smart grid industry to test their grid modernisation technology in real world settings. The unit was developed by Ryerson University and piloted by Toronto Hydro using Ecamion battery technology.
 
"The project showcases how the use of energy storage and smart grid technologies can enhance distribution system performance and reduce asset upgrade costs,” said Bala Venkatesh, academic director at Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Energy. “It is a true made-in-Toronto success story."
 
The pole-mounted unit is able to store the equivalent energy of approximately 2100 smartphone batteries. This energy storage system is unique because it doesn't have a footprint as it is attached to existing power poles
 
Ecamion is a Toronto-based provider of modular, smart energy storage that finds use in community storage, EV charging, auxiliary power units, storage for renewable energy projects and custom applications.
 
"The early results of the pilot are very encouraging and the energy storage unit is performing well," said Carmine Pizzurro, president of Ecamion. “Our collaboration with Toronto Hydro and Ryerson's Centre for Urban Energy has been very beneficial in helping launch this innovative product on a large-scale grid.”
 
Toronto Hydro owns and operates an electricity distribution system, which delivers electricity to approximately 764,000 customers in Toronto. It is the largest municipal electricity distribution company in Canada and distributes approximately 18% of the electricity consumed in Ontario.