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EDF-owned Powerflex to co-develop distributed energy resource projects with Ontario utility

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EDF Renewables subsidiary Powerflex has partnered with Ontario utility Hydro One to develop Distributed Energy Resources (DER) solutions in the Canadian province.

The two will bring DER solutions to the Ontario market, starting with two battery energy storage system (BESS) projects totalling 20MWh.

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The announcement said the partnership’s projects will provide greater choice to customers and increase local grid resilience and stability, while an earlier document from Powerflex said it would help customers optimise energy consumption and reduce their bills.

Powerflex is providing a turnkey BESS that will utilise its Energy Management System (EMS) platform including computer-aided tools to monitor, control, and optimise the system’s performance. The company said the platform provides users with real-time insights, historical reporting, asset dashboards, and consolidated billing.

Jason Rakochy, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Growth, Hydro One commented: “Hydro One is committed to embracing innovative solutions to optimise our electricity grid through increasing our use of Distributed Energy Resources. Through our partnership with PowerFlex, we are providing Ontarians with another sustainable energy option as we continue to support Ontario’s goal of becoming a low-carbon economy.”

Ontario already has nearly 5,000MW of DER assets across its network according to the website of the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). It says that integration into wholesale markets is limited to aggregated Hourly Demand Response resources or individual resources over 1MW.

Alongside the obvious benefits of load shifting and supporting grid stability through ancillary services, storage has another role to play in the Ontario market.

In the words of the executive director of trade body Energy Storage Canada in a guest blog for Energy-storage.news last year, storage is: “…a way for Ontario to keep power here for us to use rather than having to ship it to competitive Great Lakes states at discount prices to then be used against Ontario as an economic development and job creation tool – jobs that could be here in Ontario.”

Canada’s second-most populous province was also in the news recently when Enel X announced a pilot project collaboration with the IESO. The project will aggregate a combination of behind-the-meter battery storage and demand response to create more reliable resources for the grid.

Powerflex, formed in 2017 as a Caltech spinout before being acquired by EDF Renewables in 2019, also provides solutions in solar, storage, smart EV charging, microgrids, and standalone EMS.

Hydro One is a utility serving the Ontario province with a mixed ownership structure. It is publicly-listed with the province owning 47% of its shares and private investors owning the rest.

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