2023 / Distribution

IESO York Region Non-Wires Alternatives demonstration project

The IESO York Region Non-Wires Alternatives (NWA) demonstration project assists with gaining a better understanding of the potential of using Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) instead of traditional distribution and transmission infrastructure including poles, wires and transformer stations.

Funded through IESO’s Grid Innovation Fund and Natural Resources Canada and delivered by Alectra Utilities, this two-year demonstration project leverages both existing and new resources in southern York Region, where electricity demand is growing and expected to exceed system capability over the next 10 years. DERs participated in two rounds of local capacity and energy auctions where they were called upon to meet local energy needs in peak demand periods in both summers of 2021 and 2022. During the six-month commitment period (May through October) in 2021, seven local businesses participated in nine activation events. In 2022, nine local businesses participated in six activation events.

Collectively, over the two years, the pilot participants were able to reduce local peak demand by approximately 15 MW. The project achieved a “Canada first” in the fall of 2020 with the local capacity auction procuring a total of 10 MW of capacity from a variety of resources. Another first was achieved in June 2021 when participant DERs were activated during a heatwave to help reduce local demand (4.5 MW on June 7, 2021, and 3.6MW on June 28, 2021). This was the first time in Canada that DERs secured through a local capacity auction were used to help reduce local peak demand.

Learnings from the York Region NWA project will be crucial in shaping Ontario’s DER landscape and will help build a modernized and decarbonized grid, providing participation opportunities for DERs and paving the way for a more efficient electricity system. https://www.alectra.com/nwa

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