The first grid-connected energy storage facility in Canada, in the country’s leading solar province, Ontario, is now operational.
The 2MW flywheel storage facility will provide regulation service to Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator, allowing it to balance increasing volumes of intermittent renewables on the grid.
Developed by storage specialist start-up NRStor and built by Temporal Power, the facility uses a spinning steel flywheel on magnetic bearings to store energy in the form of kinetic motion, rather than chemicals, as are used in battery systems.
To 'charge' the system, grid to power is used to drive a motor that accelerates the flywheel to high speeds. When discharging, momentum from the wheel drives the motor in reverse to act as a generator.
The so-called Minto flywheel system will allow IESO to balance the grid in real time, by matching scheduled generation with actual consumption.
Launching the project, Ontario energy minister Bob Chiarelli, said: "Energy storage technologies have the potential to revolutionise the electricity system, increasing its effectiveness, lowering costs and increasing reliability for the consumer.”
Cameron Carver, chief executive of Temporal Power, said: “This project will provide enhanced flexibility to our grid by offering precise control to ensure short-term energy balancing which is an essential requirement of the power system. Fast response regulation is becoming increasingly important to manage the growth of intermittent renewable resources like wind and solar."