Smart grid community in development in Ontario

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The Altona Towns development is being constructed as Canada’s first nested microgrid with a full-scale smart residential energy system.

The project, which has been under development for four years, is designed to test next-generation technologies that can turn electricity distribution systems into modern, digitally-enabled grids.

The community includes rooftop solar, lithium-ion battery energy storage, electric vehicle charging stations, a smart metering system for community use and an integrated distribution energy service platform to control and coordinate the components of the microgrid.

Homeowners should experience increased energy resiliency and reliability, especially during power outages, while also benefitting from the renewable solar power.

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“With climate change a key concern in our era, Elexicon Energy is looking to develop an industry model for a smart grid,” said Falguni Shah, Vice President of Technology and Innovation at the company, the fourth largest municipally-owned electricity distributor in Ontario and one of the project partners.

“The hopes [are] this project will increase energy distribution reliability and contribute to net zero emissions targets for Canada by enabling wide-scale smart grid implementation in the near future.”

The other partners are Canadian cleantech company Opus One Solutions and real estate developer Marshall Homes.

Ontario’s Ministry of Energy, Northern Development provided funding from the Smart Grid and Grid Innovation fund.

Elexicon Energy will gather insights and lessons learned from the deployment, from the distribution substation down to the local community using Opus One’s GridOS distributed energy management software platform. Topics of interest include how and when electricity is used and how willing homeowners are to shift their energy consumption habits.

The Opus One software will be integrated into Elexicon Energy’s electricity distribution operations, incorporating microgrid-assisted feeder automation capabilities to enable automated control features such as peak shaving, load shifting, islanding, demand response and voltage control.

Altona Towns is located in Pickering in the greater Toronto area. The development comprises 27 units, which Marshall Homes’ website reports to be sold out.