Spark Power, in partnership with a number of strategic partners, are working together on the development of a solar power/energy storage microgrid project on Pelee Island.
Pelee Island is Canada’s southern-most landmass and is located thirty kilometres offshore in Lake Erie. With fewer than 200 permanent residents, 1500 at summer’s peak and a local economy transitioning from agriculture to tourism, increased commercial activity and job creation is critical to the sustainability and prosperity of the island.
While their economic transition and the increasing interest in its renewable energy opportunities are creating optimism regarding the sustainability of the local community and industry, the ongoing lonevity of the island is threatened by its power challenges. Firstly, there is not enough electrical infrastructure to support economic growth beyond the farms and businesses already on the island. Secondly, there are frequent power interruptions resulting in equipment malfunctions. Thirdly, since the island’s grid is constrained, residents cannot take advantage of Ontario’s net metering program and cannot install any new grid-connected solar energy. Lastly, the island’s current power supply isn’t always reliable. It comes to Pelee via a 26-kilometre underwater cable — this has resulted in lengthy power outages which has forced the island to use diesel generators to restore power; this is not only expensive, but it also does not align with Pelee Island’s eco-friendly goals.
To address these challenges, Spark Power and its partners have been looking into the feasibility of a self-sustained fully integrated microgrid system with solar power as the generation source coupled with a grid-tied battery energy storage system. The microgrid would offer the following benefits to the Pelee Island community:
- A clean solution that reflects the island’s conservation culture and strengthens its ecotourism stature by reducing the community’s carbon footprint
- More reliable power as well as more electricity capacity, allowing the community to better serve current residents and visitors
- More affordable power for the residents and business owners on the island
- Expanded electricity infrastructure to support more businesses and homes, thereby facilitating economic development
- A more stable economy through an increased number of permanent business and residences