NB wind project well underway1/21/2013
Michel Losier says the electricity system sector is headed in the same direction as cellphones have in the last 15 years.
“Just look at the difference in cellphones in a short amount of time. It’s a big transformation,” Losier, the program director for PowerShift Atlantic, said. “We’re seeing that with electricity management. It’s going to happen and we can either watch it happen or make it happen.”
PowerShift Atlantic is a research project focused on finding more effective ways to integrate wind energy into our electricity system, with pilot programs for residential and commercial customers underway across the Maritimes. NB Power, Natural Resources Canada, the University of New Brunswick and other Maritime utilities have partnered in the initiative.
The four-year program, now more than half-completed, is piloting technology that shifts energy supply to specific appliances in homes and commercial buildings in order to optimize wind generation with minimal, or no disruption to participating electric utility customers.
Losier recently visited Dieppe, which is involved in the project, and presented to council an update of how it’s playing out.
The city has three large buildings being powered by energy converted at the Kent Hills wind farm – the Dieppe Aquatic Centre, city hall, and the Arthur-J-LeBlanc Centre.
“It has demonstrated that this system can work end to end,” Losier said. “It’s a virtual power plant with some variability so it can go up and down, depending on load, with minimal impact to customers. We can better integrate wind energy everywhere in the province.”
What the project does is that instead of just providing energy at key points when people use it and need it, the system will tap in to when loads with flexibility, say those not needing the energy between midnight and 7 a.m., and will align itself instantaneously.
The same goes for the wind farms in preserving or producing electricity when the wind’s blowing, or is not blowing.
Losier says the goal is that the consumer wouldn’t even notice what’s going on, and it provides great value to the overall system, over time.
“We want to prove its cost effectiveness, and demonstrate that to the federal government and stakeholders in industry that it has a future. It’s quite exciting to do this within the Maritimes.”
(Times and Transcript)