Oshawa Power eager to get involved in electric vehicle smart grid project

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Published November 16, 2021 at 12:08 pm

Are we ready for a world of electric vehicles? The CEO of Oshawa Power says not quite, but thanks to a smart grid technology project co-funded by the Independent Electrical System Operators (IESO), we soon will be.

IESO announced a trio of smart grid projects last week that more efficiently co-ordinate energy use and supply on a local level. Each project is 50 per cent funded by IESO’s Grid Innovation Fund, with the rest of the money coming from local partners.

Oshawa Power jumped at the opportunity to get involved with a project dubbed Enhancing Local Electricity Demand Forecasts, which is a new tool using real-time utility data and machine-learning techniques to create improved, hyper-local demand forecasts.

With industry experts claiming it will cost more than $1 billion before the electrical grid is ready for full-time electrical cars, Oshawa Power CEO Ivan Labricciosa said this project will help prepare for that day.

“It’s about developing the tools to help utilities and the industry enable the grid to be ready so we don’t have to invest billions of dollars in the infrastructure,” he said, adding that the project – a partnership with Peak Power, EnerFORGE and Oshawa Power – is expected to optimize the use of solar panels, energy storage and electric vehicles to meet local needs. Half of the $850,000 price tag will come from IESO.

“We’re going to better use the grid so we have the data to know where to invest.”

Smart grid technologies help reduce energy costs for customers, improve the reliability and resilience of the distribution system and lead to more sustainable outcomes in the communities they serve, said Energy Minister Todd Smith, “Local energy supply is playing an important role as part of Ontario’s electricity grid, helping communities meet their own energy needs and supporting the grid as a whole.”

Smart grid technologies, he added, also reduce reliance on the provincial grid and the need to build large infrastructure such as transmission lines and large generators.

“The electric grid is going to become the new gas station and we have to make sure our grid infrastructure is ready for the high adoption of EVs,” said Imran Noorani, the Chief Strategy Officer with Peak Power. “We are excited to team up with Oshawa Power and the IESO to build a grid that can support a cleaner energy future.”

For Labricciosa, it’s all about electric vehicles and their future with “cleaner, greener” transportation choices. “They are near and dear to our hearts,” he said of EVs, citing the E-Mission project earlier this year – a partnership with Plug’n Drive, Elexicon Energy and the Region of Durham – that gave Durham residents a chance to see and test drive electric vehicles.

“E-Mission is our brand and we’re branding it as Durham’s initiative for a cleaner commute. It started in Oshawa but we’re happy to roll it out all over Ontario.”

Since its inception in 2006, the IESO’s Grid Innovation Fund has supported 230 projects, taking innovative ideas from partners and turning them into knowledge that enables the reliability, effectiveness and resilience of the provincial electricity system.

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