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Ameresco reveals role in 250MW Ontario IESO tender-winning BESS project

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An Ameresco joint venture (JV) is delivering one of the biggest projects awarded a long-term contract in Ontario’s recent energy storage procurement.

The US-headquartered energy efficiency and clean energy solutions provider last week revealed details of its win in the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) competitive tender. Energy-Storage.news reported on the results of the historic expedited LT-1 long-term resource procurement auction in mid-May.

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The IESO is seeking up to 2,500MW of energy storage capacity as well as some natural gas to help meet projected shortfalls in electricity supply and last month announced 739MW of winning bids, comprising seven standalone energy storage projects.

The systems will provide resource adequacy to the Ontario grid when they go online by the end of 2025, and they will be sized for four-hour duration at full output.

Shown in the table below, the biggest of the projects is the 300MW/1,200MWh Hagersville project from French power company Boralex, which also won with the 80MW Tilbury project.

The other winners include Wahgoshig Solar FIT5 LP, a partnership between the Wahgoshig First Nation with private investors, which has three projects of just under 5MW each, and Capital Power’s 120MW project (contracted for 114MW with the IESO).  

ProponentQualified applicantTechnologyNameplate capacitySummer contract capacity Winter contract capacityZone – Location
Hagersville Battery StorageBoralex Electricity storage300MW285MW285MWSouthwest – Haldimand
Napanee BESSPortlands Energy Center (Atura Power)Electricity storage265MW250MW250MWEast – Greater Napanee
Tilbury Battery StorageBoralexElectricity storage80MW76MW76MWWest – Lakeshore
Walker BESS 4 Ltd PartnershipWahgoshig Solar FIT5 LPElectricity storage4.99MW4.749MW4.749MWWest – Windsor
Walker BESS 4 Ltd PartnershipWahgoshig Solar FIT5 LPElectricity storage4.99MW4.749MW4.749MWWest – Windsor
Walker BESS 4 Ltd PartnershipWahgoshig Solar FIT5 LPElectricity storage4.99MW4.749MW4.749MWWest – Windsor
York (Battery) Capital PowerElectricity storage120MW114MW114MWEssa – King Township
Data from IESO release, 2023.

Napanee BESS Inc, the Ameresco JV with power producer Atura Power, is delivering a BESS with 250MW output and 1,000MWh energy capacity. Ameresco has a 10.1% stake in the development JV, plus the company will separately contract with its JV to provide engineering and construction services, as well as unspecified “expertise” for the installation of the BESS.

Atura Power is a subsidiary of the provincial government-owned Ontario Power Generation. The Napanee project would equal in size the Oneida battery storage project, another 250MW/1,000MWh asset in development in Ontario, with backing from the province’s government.

In a recent Editor’s Blog on this site (Premium access required), we looked at both the IESO’s procurement and the achievement of financial close for Oneida. It explains that in both cases, the promise of a 20-year contract with the system operator was powerful in securing private sector interest.

The contracts offer enough stable revenue to de-risk the investment, but the BESS assets will also participate in merchant market opportunities to make profits.

Ameresco is perhaps best known for deploying battery storage as part of full-wrap energy solutions for corporate and government facilities, but the company has also worked on front-of-meter utility-scale renewables or storage like its Ontario project.

Most notably, it is thought to be in the final stages of delivering one of the biggest single buildouts for a California investor-owned utility (IOU). Ameresco’s 2.1GWh, three-project portfolio for Southern California Edison (SCE) has been struck with bad fortune, partly due to its mid-pandemic timeframe, but looks set to reach “substantial completion” by summer 2023, according to Ameresco executives.

Ameresco said the JV would continue to pursue further BESS opportunities in Ontario. The company recently also launched a JV to bid for renewable energy and storage EPC contracts in Europe.

Justin Rangooni, executive director of Energy Storage Canada, recently blogged for this site that while a raft of positive market developments are occuring across the country, Canada is still well behind the pace of deployment of storage it needs to achieve its net zero policy goals.

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