Market Snapshot: Batteries Dominate Early Stage Testing for Energy Storage in Canada

Release date: 2016-07-20

Electricity is generated from different sources and, once generated, has to be used or will be lost. Energy storage systems provide the ability to store excess generation for times of increased demand or deficient generation. These systems have many applications, ranging from seasonal storage to short-term grid stabilization.

Several storage systems are being tested in Canada: flywheels, compressed air, hydrogen, batteries, thermal heat, and ice.Footnote 1 Batteries are expected to be the dominant storage technology in the near future. By 2018, over 50 megawatts (MW) of battery capacity is expected to be operational in Canada, accounting for 81 per cent of the total electricity storage market.

Source and Description

Sources: U.S. Department of Energy Global Energy Storage Database, Independent Electricity System Operator (Ontario)

Description: This chart shows the share of Canada’s current and proposed energy storage by technology. Battery storage units account for an 81 per cent share. Flywheels account for an 11 per cent share. The remaining share (eight per cent) is comprised of thermal, compressed air, and hydrogen storage units.

Currently, 12 MW of energy storage is being used in Canada, and 83 per cent of this is batteries. Operational non-battery projects in Canada include NRStor’s two MW flywheel storage facility in Ontario,Footnote 2 the Drake Landing Solar Community’s 1.5 MW thermal storage project in Alberta,Footnote 3 and Northwest Territories Power Corporation’s 54 kilowatt Colville Lake Solar Project.Footnote 4

Hecate Energy in Ontario is currently building the largest energy storage unit in Canada. This 15 MW unit is expected to be operational later in 2016. Last year, Hydrostor announced a proposal to build the world’s first underwater compressed-air energy storage system. This would also be located in Ontario and have a capacity of two MW.

Energy storage is expected to be a fast-growing industry. The release of new technology such as the Tesla Powerwall, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for domestic consumption and backup power, shows storage moving into the mainstream market.

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