The renewable energy industry in Quebec, Canada is expected to get a major boost with the planned testing this summer of a large-capacity energy storage system. The testing will be conducted by Esstalion Technologies, Inc., a joint venture that was established in June of last year by Sony Corporation and Hydro-Quebec.
The energy storage system is the first prototype of its kind and its expected to have the ability to store at least 1.2 MWh. To put it into perspective, this storage capacity is equivalent to the amount of power that 23 households in Quebec consume on a daily basis. If things go according to plan, this additional storage capacity can significantly help Quebec in stabilizing electricity demand and supply.
There’s a need for an efficient system of energy storage in Quebec. Although the province is home to the country’s largest hydroelectric power producer, it still encounters issues during peak consumption periods. With that said, a large-scale energy storage system needs to be integrated onto the grid. This is what Esstalion Technologies, Inc. wants to achieve. The company has come up with a prototype that will soon be tested in a laboratory at the Hydro-Quebec research center located in Varennes, Quebec. Initially, the prototype will be tested on a low voltage network. If the results are as expected, the next step would involve testing it on a 25-KV distribution line.
The prototype is a container that measures 16.2 meters. It was built using 576 battery modules, an inverter, a transformer, and control and protection equipment. The inverter’s role is to convert the current that passes through it. The transformer on the other hand will adjust the settings of the storage system voltage so that it will jive with that of the grid. As to the 576 battery modules, these were manufactured using Hydro-Quebec’s revolutionary lithium iron phosphate technology. The company has decided to make use of a container so that the storage system can be easily moved by truck from one place to another.
Esstalion Technologies, Inc. divulged that the initial stage in the testing process aims to analyze the storage system’s performance when it’s being charged, when its power is being utilized, and when the energy it stored is finally injected into the power grid. The results of these tests will be tracked and studied before the next steps in the process are taken. The company considers this project as a milestone in the joint venture that Hydro-Quebec and Sony Corporation set up in June of last year.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.