ENMAX to test solar and battery storage at oil and gas plant

ENMAX will demonstrate on-site renewable electricity generation and lithium-ion battery storage at Keyera Corporation’s Rimbey Gas plant. Previous commercial project pictured above.

ENMAX is demonstrating the use of solar power and battery storage in industrial operations to offset peak power demand. This is the first large-scale demonstration of solar and battery storage for a midstream energy facility in Canada.

The project aims to reduce electricity consumption of the facility during peak periods—specifically, when loading product onto railcars.

“There is a spike of power demand when loading materials onto the railcars. This demonstration will help confirm that reduced electricity demand and cost savings from fewer emissions will result in the technology being economically viable,” said Chris McCleave, Manager, Public Policy and Government Relations, ENMAX.

Peak demand charges can be significant for oil and gas facilities and lead to rising distribution and transmission rates. Batteries are an important enabler for allowing renewable electricity to be used to displace grid power during periods of peak demand.

The anticipated capacity will be 1 megawatt (MWac) of solar and 2 megawatt hours (MWh) of battery storage. The project also offers a significant GHG reduction opportunity, with the ability to reduce approximately 700 tonnes of CO2e annually, or 16,000 tonnes over the life of the project.

If successful, the technology could become a viable alternative for industrial customers across the province. ENMAX has identified roughly 500 facilities of similar size and consumption patterns. Other electricity providers could also implement similar solutions if the model is proven to be economically viable.

ERA is investing almost $2 million into the project. It is just one of the initiatives selected through ERA’s BEST Challenge, a $100 million funding initiative for biotechnology, electricity, and sustainable transportation innovations.

“We are actively exploring technology advancements and the potential they can create for our customers and our communities. The funding received from ERA enables us to test innovative and environmentally-responsible technology in a real life environment, providing learnings that can be transferred to broader applications,” said James McKee, Executive Vice President, Energy Services, ENMAX.

Since becoming a BEST Challenge recipient in March 2019, site selection has been confirmed and ENMAX is finalizing detailed site design and setting up suppliers to complete construction by August 2020. The facility will collect data for 12 months, followed by performance and economic assessments.