Canada invests in smart grid modernisation and renewables

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Canada’s Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways (SREPs) programme is to award Ca$960 million (US$795 million) over next four years.

The programme launched by Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan Jr is to supports building Canada’s low emissions energy future and a renewable, electrified economy through projects that focus on cleaner energy technologies and modernising of electricity system operations.

SREPs will support projects under three streams, established renewables, emerging technologies and grid modernisation.

Established renewables encompass solar PV, onshore wind and small hydro among others, while examples of emerging technologies include geothermal and energy storage.

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The minimum project sizes are 4MW for generation and 1MW for storage.

Technologies that will be considered in the grid modernisation stream, which is open only to utilities and system operators, include microgrids, virtual power plants and hardware/software to enable grid services.

“Our new SREPs programme will increase our grid’s renewable capacity and improve its reliability and resiliency,” says Minister O’Regan.

“This means a cleaner, more reliable electricity supply for Canadians. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”

Projects will receive up to a maximum of Ca$50 million, ranging from a maximum 10% of project costs for established renewables to 30% for emerging technologies and 50% for grid modernisation technologies.

No breakdown is indicated between the streams but a portion of the funding will be reserved for indigenous-led projects, which also may qualify for higher levels of project support.

All the supported projects under the established and emerging streams that are capable of delivering electricity must also be capable of providing grid services traditionally provided by synchronous generators.

Such capability is intended to enable utilities and system operators to build familiarity with and develop new operational processes to better support higher levels of renewable electricity generation.

All the grid modernisation projects will be required to contribute to a wider range of grid services and value streams such as improved asset utilization and efficiency, increased reliability and resiliency, increased system flexibility and enabling renewable integration. They also must be integrated into utility operational processes.