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Ontario opts for 55 MW of storage projects to provide grid balance

Ontario will add two energy storage projects to its electricity grid for reserve power during sudden spikes in demand.

The Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator, known as IESO, said it chose projects by Hecate Energy Ltd. and Saturn Power Inc. to provide regulation service. The two battery storage proposals were among 42 submitted in the grid operator's call for 350 MW of regulation capacity, IESO said in a Nov. 28 statement. No other contracts were announced.

The Hecate project, named Loyalist 1, is a 30-MW facility to be located in Loyalist Township near the city of Kingston, Ontario. The company said on its website that it has seven in-front-of-the-meter battery storage systems with a total capacity of 58.8 MWh contracted with IESO. Saturn Power will operate a 25-MW facility near the city of Owen Sound.

"The important grid-balancing function of regulation service has historically been provided by generators," IESO COO Leonard Kula said in the statement. "Today, we are seeing the increasing participation of emerging technologies like storage to cost-effectively help meet our operational needs."

Providers of regulation have to be ready to provide electricity quickly in the event of supply and demand imbalances. Ontario's climate-mitigation plan has seen more renewables added to the grid while relying on nuclear power supplied by Ontario Power Generation Inc. and Bruce Power LP for the bulk of its baseload needs. Regulation service is a requirement under the North American Electric Reliability Corp. and Northeast Power Coordinating Council. The IESO has agreements with both bodies to meet reliability standards.