There has been considerable discourse in the energy sector on the future integration of microgrids into our electricity systems, and yet the majority of microgrids currently operating in Ontario are still at the pilot and demonstration phase. Minimal investment has been seen to date towards deploying these systems on a fully commercial scale.
The Advanced Energy Centre (AEC) at MaRS has consulted with industry and have found that technology is, for the most part, not the issue here. We have the innovative companies available right on our doorstep to provide these solutions, and the technological capabilities to successfully integrate them in our grid systems.
In regions without significant extreme weather threats, and other threats to resiliency, the largest barrier to microgrid deployment continues to be the financial viability of projects, and the ability to monetize streams of value. Questions remain around the overall commercial viability and business models of these systems.
Energy players need to be able to make intelligent decisions when allocating funds towards microgrids. Government should be equipped to make informed policy decisions around these systems, based on pragmatic, region-specific data.
To facilitate this evidence based decision making, the Advanced Energy Centre has worked with Navigant, to analyze and forecast the commercial viability of four microgrid use cases in Ontario. The applications examined are within the commercial and industrial, residential, utility and institutional customer groups. It is hoped this research will help enable the efficient direction of resources towards microgrids in the province, and expose the barriers and opportunities they present within our energy system.
The analysis contained in the above report series was based on the assumptions outline in this document: