The Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA) held a successful inaugural edition of its new annual event, “Energy Storage Alberta—CanREA Summit.” Nearly 200 people attended the Summit in Calgary yesterday.

“CanREA created a full-day conference about energy storage in Alberta because it is important to delve into this topic to provide clarity and timely information as our province designs and implements a Restructured Energy Market or REM,” said CanREA President and CEO Vittoria Bellissimo.

CanREA welcomed Alberta’s Minister of Affordability and Utilities, Nathan Neudorf, as the keynote speaker. Minister Neudorf shared his vision for energy storage in Alberta and his views on the path forward.

“Energy storage is a key component of the clean, low-cost, reliable, flexible and scalable solutions that Alberta needs, as do provinces across Canada,” said Bellissimo. “It is a critical technology for our sustainable energy future, presents exciting opportunities for the industry and brings value to Alberta ratepayers.”

Energy Storage Alberta 2024 kicked off with an overview session called “What’s next for the Alberta electricity market, and why do we need energy storage?” This panel examined the system and market changes expected in the next five years, focusing on how energy storage can play a significant role in keeping the lights on, affordably.

The four subsequent panels focused on reliability products, wires solutions, market participation and innovation in energy storage technologies, respectively.

CanREA invited energy-storage innovators to present case studies, both from within Alberta and from other jurisdictions, as well as subject-matter experts to lead discussions and answer two key questions: Are we set up for policy, regulatory and market success for energy storage in Alberta? And if not, how can we set ourselves up for success?

“It is very clear to me that, as we aim to deliver clean, reliable, affordable electricity to Albertans, we will need more energy storage: we need all the energy, capacity, ancillary services and non-wires solutions that it brings to the table,” said Bellissimo.

CanREA wishes to thank all attendees, moderators and speakers for helping to make the Summit a success. A special word of thanks to Silver-level sponsors Enfinite and Northland Power, and Bronze-level sponsors Bennett Jones and ATCO EnPower.

What exactly is energy storage?

In its simplest definition, energy storage is anything that allows us to store energy in a form that can be utilized in the future—hours, days or possibly months later, depending on the technology.

Many different energy-storage technologies are in development in Canada, with some already in operation. They include batteries, hydrogen, mechanical storage (pumped hydro, compressed air, flywheels) and thermal methods.

Batteries are probably the best-known form of energy-storage technology. But energy storage is so much more than lithium-ion batteries. Technologies are changing, companies are innovating, and new systems to solve clean-electricity challenges are being deployed every year.

In “Beyond the battery: Innovative energy storage technologies,” a panel at Energy Storage Alberta—CanREA Summit in June 2024, panelists presented their innovative energy-storage technologies, including long-duration storage and new battery chemistries.

What’s more, these technologies can do much more than simply store energy: They can provide many key services, including wires services (such as capacity value, peak shaving, voltage support, frequency regulation, and transmission & distribution deferral and congestion management), reliability services (such as regulating reserve, spinning reserve and black start), and market services (such as time shift, arbitrage, demand charge reduction and backup power).

The many services provided by energy storage are shown in the graphic above, pulled from CanREA’s whitepaper, “Laying the Foundation: Six priorities for supporting the decarbonization of Canada’s grid with energy storage.”

Featured images: Nearly 200 people attended the inaugural edition of CanREA’s Energy Storage Alberta Summit in Calgary on June 5, 2024. Credits: CanREA. The full photo album will be posted here:  

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