The “Smart Grid” Energy Storage System

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In April 2013, UBC joined partners Alpha Technologies and Corvus Energy to add a new Energy Storage System to the Campus as a Living Lab initiative. The project integrates one megawatt hour of stored energy — enough to power an average home for 1,000 hours — into a power grid that supports three major campus facilities.

Initially created in response to the university’s need for emergency back-up power at UBC’s Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility (BDRF), the energy storage system will advance research on integrating renewable-energy sources, like solar and wind, into large power grids.

The smart grid technology will allow the storage of clean power when it is generated and its use in times of peak demand. Most community power grids do not have this capacity.  The technology is also a key requirement for integrating clean-energy sources into the power grid.

“This partnership is an opportunity to use the campus as a living lab, integrating research with operations and developing technologies aimed at solving local, national, and global sustainability challenges at a scalable, commercially viable level,” said UBC President Professor Stephen Toope. “Alpha and Corvus’s contributions will power this work and their leadership will light the way for others to follow.”

Alpha, Corvus and UBC researchers will develop the system’s automated control software and study its capacity to provide back up for critical energy demand and to be integrated into the University’s power grid.

Research and data generated by the project will help demonstrate and evaluate scalable clean-energy solutions for cities and communities, and assist UBC in reaching the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 100 percent from 2007 levels by 2050.

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