S&C Electric Co. and North Bay Hydro Services have announced the completion of North Bay's Community Energy Park project with the successful installation of the first utility-scale advanced microgrid in Canada. The system will successfully island, or keep a group of critical buildings powered, to create a community shelter for the town's more than 51,000 residents if a winter storm, or other disaster, were to knock out North Bay's power.
Developed largely in response to a 2013 ice storm that hit the province of Ontario and left hundreds of thousands of residents without power for days, the 789kW microgrid will supply enough energy to heat buildings in the town's Community Energy Park, including the local YMCA Aquatic Centre and Memorial Gardens Sports Arena, allowing thousands of local residents a safe haven from the elements during prolonged outages. The microgrid is powered by two 265-kW natural gas generators and a 9-kW of solar, 7kW of rooftop panels and a 2kW solar flower.
In addition to helping North Bay meet its goal of developing a reliably-powered safe refuge, the microgrid will greatly improve the city's overall power efficiency. The project now allows for North Bay Hydro Services to provide 87% of the electricity requirements for the Community Energy Park's buildings from on-site generation along with more than half of the park's electrical heating needs.
"Utilities everywhere are wrestling with what's in store for the future of the electrical grid, and the Community Energy Park is a preview of what's to come," stated Paul McMullen, Vice President of Canadian Business for S&C Electric Company. "Not only does this microgrid represent the level of engineering needed for the grid's inevitable changes, but it shows how new approaches like these can bring good to the community and the environment."