Energy storage, often referred to as the holy grail of clean energy, has finally arrived in Ontario. Temporal Power’s market-leading flywheel technology is the first grid-connected energy storage system in Ontario. The facility, located in Harriston, Ontario, officially opened on July 22, and it promises to be the first step for Ontario’s energy storage future, as well as Temporal Power’s.
Energy storage technologies are essential to our changing electricity grid and can improve the overall efficiency of our system through a variety of distinct services. Storage helps stabilize our grid, which is especially important with the increased integration of renewable energy, and it also manages discrepancies between supply and demand. Energy storage systems can also help alleviate demands on aging infrastructure and the energy system as a whole.
Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan calls for 50 megawatts of energy storage, or roughly the electricity consumption of 50,000 homes. Temporal Power’s flywheel facility, a two-megawatt system, represents the first piece of Ontario’s energy storage plan. At the launch on July 22, Ontario’s Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli remarked that “energy storage technologies have the potential to revolutionize the electricity system, increasing its effectiveness, lowering costs and increasing reliability for the consumer.”
The flywheel facility, which is owned by Toronto-based energy storage project developer NRStor Inc., will provide regulation service to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), helping to manage Ontario’s electricity grid. Regulation is a vital service that matches scheduled electricity generation to dynamic consumption, balancing the grid in real time. Regulation is contracted by the IESO, and Temporal Power’s flywheels are one of several methods employed to manage the grid.
A flywheel is a mechanical battery that stores electricity as kinetic motion. The energy is stored in a spinning steel rotor that is levitated using magnetic bearings. The flywheel is able to adjust its speed as more or less energy needs to be stored, regulating the grid by ensuring that supply and demand are equal. Cam Carver, CEO of Temporal Power, was quoted as saying: “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.”
Temporal Power’s facility is sure to pave the way for additional energy storage technologies to be deployed on the Ontario grid, increasing stabilization and longevity. A full-scale, successfully operating facility in Ontario is also sure to open international opportunities for Temporal Power—after all, energy storage technologies are sought worldwide, not just in Ontario.