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Smart Grid Projects to Boost Innovation and Reduce Electricity Costs

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Smart Grid Projects to Boost Innovation and Reduce Electricity Costs

Projects Will Create More Than 100 Jobs in Communities Across the Province

Ontario is supporting 12 innovative projects that will improve the delivery of electricity to families and businesses, reducing costs and creating over 100 high-tech jobs across the province.

Glenn Thibeault, Minister of Energy, was joined by Bob Chiarelli, MPP for Ottawa West--Nepean and John Fraser, MPP for Ottawa South, today in Ottawa to make the announcement.

Initiatives receiving support through the province's Smart Grid Fund include SPARQ Systems' project with Ottawa Hydro, Eion Wireless and Queen's University. This project uses innovative micro-inverter technology, which helps eliminate the by-products solar installations can produce. The project will create 18 jobs and is expected to improve reliability and longevity of Hydro Ottawa's infrastructure, delivering cost savings for families and businesses.

Ontario's Smart Grid Fund supports projects that test, develop and bring to market the next generation of energy grid innovations, helping consumers and businesses lower energy costs, improve conservation efforts, and incorporate new technologies like electric vehicles and storage. The Advantage Power Pricing program led by Energate Inc. and Alectra Utilities, for example, was a successfully completed project with approximately 1,000 participants. This program tested a dynamic pricing program for residential customers in which the daily on-peak price of electricity varied in response to overall provincial demand. On average, participants paid $74 less in electricity costs than they would have if billed at normal time-of-use rates.

Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is investing $10.5 million to support these 12 Smart Grid Fund projects. To date, 800 jobs have been created as a result of Smart Grid Fund investments. The Ministry of Energy expects to launch a new round of Smart Grid Fund applications shortly.
  • The Smart Grid Fund was launched in 2011 to support innovation in Ontario’s energy sector. Investments have helped Ontario companies improve the efficiency of the province’s electricity distribution grids, helping utilities to increase affordability for their customers.
  • Another Ottawa-based fund recipient, Solantro Semiconductor Corp., is partnering with Hydro Ottawa to provide 10 local families with solar power generation, battery storage and load control. This nanogrid will increase customer choice and has the potential to reduce costs for local ratepayers by providing a way for households to produce, store and use their own energy in conjunction with their connection to the electricity grid.

Background Information

Quotes

“Supporting these 12 Smart Grid projects is an important investment in our clean energy future, and a key part of modernizing our province’s electricity grid. Through commitments made in our 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan, we will keep Ontario at the tip of the spear when it comes to embracing an innovative, smart and affordable electricity system, while creating good jobs in communities across the province.”

Glenn Thibeault

Minister of Energy

“Our government is pleased to support Eastern Ontario job creators like SPARQ Systems and Solantro that are turning new, innovative ideas into savings for Ottawa Hydro’s customers and great employment opportunities for people in our region.”

Bob Chiarelli

Minister of Infrastructure and MPP for Ottawa West—Nepean

“This made-in-Ontario project means that families and businesses in Ottawa will see their monthly electricity bills reduced. As a result of this innovative partnership, Hydro Ottawa customers will see the benefits of a cutting edge, efficient electricity grid and increased affordability.”

John Fraser

MPP for Ottawa South

“As a community company, part of being a good partner and collaborator means helping our customers achieve their green energy goals. This solar array project between SPARQ and Ottawa Community Housing Corporation will not only help inform our understanding of smart grid infrastructure on our electricity grid; it will contribute city-wide to the betterment of the largest social housing provider in Ottawa. We are honoured to lend our time and expertise to this exciting project.”

Bryce Conrad

President and CEO, Hydro Ottawa

“We are building more green, sustainable affordable housing and continuously looking to improve our existing buildings, as part of our Eco2Plan. It’s through partnerships like this that we will be able to achieve our goals and benefit our tenants. As the city's largest affordable housing provider and a sector leader, it's important for Ottawa Community Housing to find innovative ways to reduce our carbon footprint.”

Stéphane Giguère

CEO, Ottawa Community Housing Corporation

“The technology allows for variations in the grid. It will roll and adapt to the grid conditions as the live load on the grid goes on and off. Our inverters can absorb or create the reactive power needed or occurring on the grid. It adapts dynamically to the grid’s needs. We are delighted that our innovative solar inverter technology is playing a role in bringing sustainable energy to the Regina Lane community. This solar installation will help SPARQ, with support from Hydro Ottawa, demonstrate the effects of the grid-interactive smart inverters in supporting a smart grid. We are proud of this forward-looking collaboration with Hydro Ottawa and Ottawa Community Housing.”

Dr. Praveen Jain

President and CEO, SPARQ Systems

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