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Biggest battery energy storage facility in GTA now live in Newmarket

Leading energy efficiency company Ameresco opens Twinney Drive facility

The largest battery energy storage system of its kind in the GTA is now live in Newmarket.

And Mayor John Taylor said this serves as the first example that the days of needing to build massive power plants are coming to an end.

“We are standing in the future, it’s arrived,” Taylor told NewmarketToday after attending the grand opening Tuesday morning of the Twinney Drive battery energy storage facility.

Leading U.S.-based energy efficiency and renewable energy company Ameresco celebrated the launch of a project four years in the making that saw it design, build, own, and operate 2 megawatt (MW), four-hour “battery solid” energy storage systems, on behalf of Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator, the Crown corporation that operates the province’s electricity market. 

The two solid-state lithium-ion battery energy storage systems connect to the Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution grid at a capacity of 4 MW. Both systems absorb power during periods of excess energy supply and deliver it back to the grid when energy demand is high.

The recently completed systems provide 16 MWh in overall energy storage capacity, according to information provided by Ameresco. A megawatt hour is one million watts of electrical power used for one hour. 

“Battery storage is central to the better utilization of all assets within the electricity system, better value to ratepayers, and reduction of our carbon footprint,” Ameresco Canada president Bob McCullough said in a Sept. 24 statement. “Taking this action now will demonstrate how energy storage facilities deployed at the distribution level can facilitate more cost-effective designs of both transmission and distribution infrastructure while providing greater power reliability to local areas, regardless of peak energy demands,” he said.

The energy storage pilot project is creating buzz locally. 

“It’s two 50-feet long by 6-feet high big banks of batteries surrounded by technology, and Tesla in California monitors every cell within the system on a real-time basis,” Taylor said. “As you get one, five, or 10 of these battery energy storage facilities around a geographic area, it will have the ability to manage those peaks and you won’t have to build massive infrastructure.”

For now, the Newmarket battery energy storage facility will connect to the local grid, but Taylor said the future could find neighbourhoods and local hospitals, for example, tapping in.

“It’s environmentally progressive, and it means you don’t need to start up a massive (peaking power) plant because you need 2 MW, you can just pull it from this facility instead,” he said. “It’s also an enabler for economic development because it adds resiliency to the local grid.”

The Newmarket facility is being touted as a showcase example of the advantages of time-shifting energy consumption and production, along with the potential of future ancillary services, Ameresco officials stated.

To learn more about batteries and energy storage system development, visit here.


Kim Champion

About the Author: Kim Champion

Kim Champion is a veteran journalist and editor who covers Newmarket and issues that impact York Region.
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