The power of storage—rural reflections on NII’s Store of Value report

The Clean Energy Frontier region of Bruce, Grey and Huron is known for clean energy. It’s what we do: we have a clean energy mindset, and we leverage our skills and knowledge to change the world.

In our part of the province, with economic drivers like agriculture, tourism and clean energy, there is no surprise that residents and businesses are passionate about striving for a net-zero future. Protecting our environment and advancing new technology to support clean energy is what we do, and we do this knowing there is tremendous opportunity.


With more than 60 clean energy suppliers located in the Clean Energy Frontier region, there is tremendous economic impactnot to mention the thousands of jobs created by Bruce Power’s Major Component Replacement project, which will extend the life of the plant out to 2064. By leveraging the clean energy assets and mobilizing the skills in our region, we are making change and seeing results in the form of job creation and assessment growth. This sector has brought economic opportunity for the region, unlocking new potential for job seekers, entrepreneurs and local employers.

In a recent economic impact report, we learned that $1.43 billion of household spending comes from the clean energy sector in the tri-county region. Living expenses such as housing and groceries, to entertainment and lifestyle spending happens right here in Bruce, Grey and Huron.

Beyond local spending, the Clean Energy Frontier region recognizes the skills we have here and we take advantage of growth opportunities. In this area we see business diversification, employers pivoting goals and expanding ideas and unlocking new potential.

Employers are leveraging their skills and carving new pathslike Kinectrics and Framatometwo companies that have come together to form a collaborative effort to support medical isotope production at Bruce Power.


In a recent report called Store of Value, published by NII's Bruce Power Centre for New Nuclear & Net Zero Partnerships, energy storage is brought to the forefront.


Energy storage is a clean energy initiative to support Ontario’s demand for power. Simply put, it’s a method to hold energy in a way that can be easily deployed when we need it most (think charging a batterybut a lot bigger).


To reach net zero, we need innovative solutions like energy storage.


Clean energy storage right here at home

Clean energy storage projects at home in the Clean Energy Frontier region.

Right here in the Clean Energy Frontier region is the first-in-the-world 1.75 MW compressed air energy storage system, by NRStor and Hydrostor, located near Goderich, Ontario. First-in-the-world technology happens in the Clean Energy Frontier region.


Compressed air storage uses electricity from the grid to power an air compressor. The compressed air is then sent to a storage container underground (in the case of NRStor and Hydrostor’s Goderich facility, the storage vessel is a depleted salt cavern). The air is stored there until the facility is called upon to produce energy, and then the air is brought back to the surface and is used to spin a turbine to generate electricity.


Another great example of energy storage is Oneida Energy Storage, which is a large-scale battery project. This project is a partnership between NRStor and the Six Nations of the Grand River Department Corporate and could provide the grid with 250 MW of battery storage system. Like our smart phones, the battery is charged up and ready to power us forward as we need itenergy, on demand.


Also in the Clean Energy Frontier region is TC Energy’s proposed Ontario Pumped Storage project in Meaford, Ontario. TC Energy’s proposed storage project is one of the largest clean energy initiatives being developed in Canada. We do big things in the Clean Energy Frontier region.

The Ontario Pumped Storage project will have the ability to provide 1,000 MW of clean energy for eight hours (or 8,000 MWh of total electricity supply) when Ontario needs it most. That’s enough electricity to power one million homes for every eight hours of operation.

The proposed facility would draw water from Georgian Bay, temporarily store it in a newly constructed upper reservoir, and later return the water to Georgian Bay. During periods of low electricity demand, water would be pumped upslope from Georgian Bay through enclosed pipes to the upper reservoir and when demand for electricity is high, the water is released down through the same pipes to generate electricity for the grid.


A local economic development dream

Like the other storage projects mentioned, this too creates an opportunity for our grid, when we need it. On demand. Emissions-free.

An opportunity for our grid and for our local communities

Not to mention, like other clean energy projects in the region, there are economic development opportunities: assessment growth and job creation.


This Ontario Pumped Storage project will draw on the local labour force, with TC Energy stating that it expects to source labour, goods and services from the communities in Grey and Bruce counties, including local Indigenous communities.

  • Preconstruction and construction would create 1,033 direct jobs;

  • 2,800 indirect jobs during construction;

  • more than $1.3 billion paid in wages in Ontario and Canada;

  • and more than 20 permanent positions on site once complete.

This project, like other clean energy projects, is an economic development dream.


In a handful of paragraphs I’ve summarized some of the Store of Value report, and I can tell you the full report is worth a read. You’ll learn more technical attributes of the projects in the report and will further understand the connection between nuclear and storage.

We know that net zero needs nuclear, and (spoiler alert) Ontario’s grid needs energy storage and nuclear to reach net zero. Storage as described above will help eliminate the need to utilize carbon emitting systems for on-demand energy.

We can provide on-demand energy without the emissions, and the Clean Energy Frontier region is the place to do it.

 

Jessica Linthorne is the Director of the Clean Energy Frontier.