When an ice storm hit Ontario, Canada, in 2013, transmission lines were knocked down, leaving hundreds of thousands of residents without power for days. Without electricity, the communities within the province are at risk of being exposed to perilous temperatures.
With climate change increasing the future prevalence of severe winter weather, North Bay Hydro Services sought to secure the warmth and safety of the North Bay community by improving power resiliency. The Ontario-based municipal utility affiliate decided to develop a microgrid that could island a group of buildings and shelter residents if a winter storm took out power in North Bay for days. Called the Community Energy Park—the first utility-scale advanced microgrid in Canada—the group of community-centric facilities includes the YMCA Aquatic Centre, the Memorial Gardens sports arena, and the Thomson Park sports field.
The microgrid had to be able to deliver power primarily generated by distributed energy resources, adapt to existing building infrastructures and electrical equipment, and operate independently of the main electrical grid during a sustained outage. Because the Aquatic Centre and Memorial Gardens buildings would shelter thousands of residents from the community, the microgrid also had to supply enough electricity and heat during the entire time of refuge.
To accomplish these goals, North Bay Hydro Services wanted to work with a company with strong microgrid experience that could help simplify the complexities of developing a microgrid and provide a turnkey solution. The utility affiliate ultimately chose S&C Electric Company.
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