An Alberta energy-storage company owned by Toronto-Dominion Bank’s TD-T asset-management arm is tripling the size of its investments in lithium-ion batteries to allow more renewable power generation onto the province’s power grid.
Calgary-based Enfinite Corp. said it has ordered 120 additional megawatts of capacity in the form of utility-scale “Megapack” batteries made by Tesla Inc. to expand its storage projects in the province. The company did not disclose the price of the batteries, but comparable projects for power generation and electricity grids have cost around $200-million.
The new battery units follow the acquisition of Tesla-made Megapacks in 2020 for its projects, which it calls eReserve. Two banks of batteries, at 20 MW each, are in service, and another is due to be in operation late this summer, said Enfinite, which was formerly known as WCSB Power Holdings. Each bank of batteries, or unit, has the footprint about the size of a hockey rink.
With all units in service, the company will have 180 MW of storage capacity in Alberta.
“We’re looking longer-term. In Alberta there’s going to be quite a transition off fossil fuels in the power space, so we feel this is an appropriate investment,” said Matt Braaten, Enfinite’s chief executive officer.
The existing facilities are located in the east-central and northwest regions of Alberta. The new batteries will be installed at other sites in those areas, Mr. Braaten said.
Batteries and other storage technology are seen as crucial to allowing grids to gain more green electricity, which fluctuates with varying wind speed and sunlight. Alberta’s major power generators have quickly shifted away from coal-fired power, which puts more emphasis on renewables contributing to meeting peak demand. Storage also has the potential to lower costs for consumers as prices for natural gas, now the province’s dominant fuel source, spike, Enfinite said.
Meanwhile, new legislation proposed to modernize Alberta’s electrical system, known as Bill 22, will ease the way for more storage and other technology to be deployed in the province, the company said.
Other developers, including Enmax Corp., owned by the City of Calgary, and TransAlta Corp., have installed batteries at generation facilities in southern Alberta. Enfinite’s projects are not tied to specific generation units, but to the province’s grid.
Enfinite, owned by TD Greystone Infrastructure Fund, said it expects approval of the next six eReserve projects later this year, and they are scheduled to be in service by the second quarter of 2023. It also said it has other projects in various stages of development in Ontario and other parts of Eastern Canada.
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