NORTH BAY, ON – North Bay Hydro Services, in partnership with local engineering and construction companies Induspec, Piotrowski Consultants and Kenalex, broke ground this week on the latest in a series of initiatives to make North Bay more energy resilient.
As weather patterns change and our climate becomes increasingly unpredictable, communities around the world are looking to microgrids as part of their emergency preparedness plans.
The Community Energy Park (CEP) microgrid project follows on the heels of the North Bay Hydro Services Cogenerator project at the North Bay Regional Health Centre, which gives the hospital a reliable and efficient source of power that can supply over 85% of the facility’s needs in the event of an emergency, while efficiently supplying its day to day electricity and heating needs. The Cogenerator is an engine that runs on natural gas, producing electricity with heat as a byproduct. This heat is captured and used to heat the facility through the boiler system.
The microgrid at the North Bay YMCA and Aquatic Centre will combine the electricity and heat of a cogenerator with solar power to supply 87% of the electricity needs for the YMCA, Aquatic Centre and Memorial Gardens, while also supplying over 55% of the heating requirements for the Aquatic Centre and Memorial Gardens.
What makes the microgrid so important to our community is its ability to run on “Island Mode” in the event of an emergency, giving North Bay centrally located emergency shelters with self-sustained power and heat – A place where people can seek refuge, while keeping childcare services up and running so first responders and others can focus on the job at hand.
“As we learned in the Northeast blackout of 2003, there are factors beyond our control that affect the North American power grid, and it’s up to our community to ensure we have sustainable electricity infrastructure in case of an emergency.” said Jason Whiteley of North Bay Fire & Emergency Services.
Through Smart Grid technology and the use of a battery/inverter, the system will store and deliver the most efficient and cost-effective combination of power from the solar panels, cogenerator and grid to meet the demands of the three facilities. The microgrid will also include provision for an electric vehicle charging station capable of charging 2 or more vehicles.
“This is a world-leading innovation and we’re lucky to have the homegrown engineering and construction talent to pull together all these different technologies to create a solution that fits North Bay’s unique energy resiliency needs,” said Todd Wilcox, President and COO of North Bay Hydro.
North Bay Hydro Services is working closely with local firms Induspec, Piotrowski Consultants and Kenalex Construction to design, build and procure the various components that make up the Community Energy Park. S&C Electric Company brings industry-leading microgrid controller technology to the project, which will allow the CEP to operate at maximum efficiency.
“As the world moves toward locally-based energy solutions, North Bay really is leading the charge,” said Dave Smits of Induspec. “We’re proud of the work we’re doing here, and the vision North Bay Hydro has shown.”
The 4.5 million dollar project will benefit from $1.6 million confirmed, and potentially $2.5 million total in provincial and federal grants. The Community Energy Park is scheduled for completion in fall of 2018.