The federal government is committing $1.4 million to Enmax for a project the utility company says will make its power grid more resilient and efficient.
The funding will support an Enmax pilot project, the first of its kind in Canada, that seeks to enable two-way power flow in urban downtown cores, allowing customers to send extra renewable self-generated electricity back into Calgary’s electricity grid for others to use.
“What we’re seeing in the industry is increasingly we have the technology and interest by customers to be able to generate their own electricity, for example putting solar panels on their roof,” said Enmax president and CEO Gianna Manes. “What this is going to allow customers to do is to be able to generate electricity on their buildings in the downtown core, use what they need, but if they have excess, they can put it back on the grid. We can’t do that with our technology today.”
In Calgary, Enmax already enables two-way power flow on its standard distribution system. But that’s not the case on its secondary network, a highly specialized system used in the downtown core.
“What this means is that residential and commercial customers in urban setting will have more choice and support in how they generate and use electricity, particularly more opportunities to invest in distributed generation such as solar and combined heat power,” Manes said.
Federal Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi said the problem isn’t limited to Calgary.
“Most North American cities are experiencing the same issue which is why we believe that Enmax’s approach is the future of electricity in Canada,” said Sohi, who was in Calgary on Tuesday to announce the government’s funding commitment. “We believe that smart, creative technologies are key to building this cleaner economy… This solution will increase the overall resiliency and the reliability of the power grids. It will also lower greenhouse gas emission, making for a cleaner, healthier city.”
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