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TERIC Power Ltd. has received approvals from the AUC to install two 20-megawatt lithium-ion battery energy storage power plants. The eReserve1 Battery Energy Storage Power Plant will be located near the village of Rycroft and will connect to the ATCO Electric Ltd. distribution system. The eReserve2 Battery Energy Storage Power Plant will be located near the Municipal District of Wainwright No. 61 and will connect to the FortisAlberta Ltd. distribution system.
The AUC has previously approved other battery projects that would be incorporated into existing power plants (solar, wind, natural gas); however, the eReserve1 Battery Energy Storage Power Plant Project and the eReserve2 Battery Energy Storage Power Plant Project are the first standalone battery projects approved as power plants and will serve as the largest battery storage installation in Canada.
“The project was a relatively new application of emerging technology, so there was no previous experience to fall back on to help consider the application,” says Gary Perkins, legal counsel. “We had to look for treatments in other jurisdictions or analogous situations to identify issues that needed to be considered and to fully assess the proposal.”
The battery storage power plants will not create new electricity, but will hold previously generated electricity in large capacity batteries. The eReserve1 and eReserve2 projects will draw electricity from the Alberta electric grid, then store it in batteries for a period of time, and eventually release the stored energy when demand is high. The battery storage systems will effectively return energy to the electricity grid when required for electric system support.
“The current regulation does not specifically address battery storage facilities, especially the stand-alone battery facilities,” says Sophie Jiang, engineer specialist. “Not only did we look at how other jurisdictions across the North America treat this type of facility, we also looked at the technical and operational attributes of the proposed TERIC projects in the Alberta Interconnected Electric System in comparison with other types of power plants.”
TERIC has selected Tesla Megapack batteries for the project, which according to Tesla Inc., employs a safe-by-design approach, and hazards such as thermal runaway and external fires are addressed by Tesla with product-level design mitigations.
After the expected 20-year lifespan of the project is up, TERIC plans to return the battery system to Tesla for full recycling. According to TERIC, Tesla’s recycling program would recover valuable materials from the modules, including nickel, cobalt, copper, aluminum, steel and lithium, for further use in batteries and other applications.
Commercial operation will commence for eReserve1 in late 2020, and for eReserve2 in the early third-quarter of 2021.
More detailed information about the project applications and approvals can be found in Decision 25205-D01-2020 (eReserve1) and in Decision 25691-D01-2020 (eReserve2).