This year’s forward-looking conference program will explore how wind energy, solar energy, and energy storage can work together to meet electricity demands.
On gently-rolling prairie land just north of Lethbridge, Alberta, the future of renewable energy may well be taking shape.
One of Canada’s largest solar farms, Vulcan Solar (100 MWp), is proposed for construction on the same rural patch as Western Canada’s largest wind project, Blackspring Ridge (300 MW) — and the companies behind them are weighing the possibility of combining the two in a hybrid development that would provide a constant flow of electricity.
“It allows both systems to operate to their full potential while maximizing the existing infrastructure, limiting the new capital required” said David Warner of EDF Renewables, which co-owns the Blackspring Ridge Wind Project with Enbridge and is developing the Vulcan solar project.
“You’re utilizing existing systems to maximize the substation that is already there … at the same time, you’re providing a firmer power supply to the ratepayers of Alberta.”
Way of the future
Hybrid projects, which include some combination of wind, solar, and energy storage, are widely seen as the future of renewable energy in Canada.
This will be a major topic of discussion at the CanWEA wind energy conference and exhibition in Calgary (Oct. 8-10), where Warner will speak about how technologies are converging to meet energy needs as we transition to low-carbon economies.
“Hybrid-type solutions are becoming more mainstream,” said Warner.
“It’s something that EDF is investing a lot of energy and time on — how to co-optimize these energy products across Canada.”
Wind and solar have been described as the “perfect couple,” since their peak generation periods dovetail in complementary ways.
Wind power generation tends to peak at night, and solar production is active throughout the day. Both can be fed into storage devices that provide electricity during the shoulder hours to ensure there is no downtime.
“There can definitely be strong economic and system synergies here. For example, using the battery to time-shift load demand can offer multiple system benefits to utilities, and lead to new revenue opportunities within the energy market, ” said Warner.
“Renewables continue to be the lowest cost of new entry for new generation requirements. Coupling with storage only increases the value proposition.”
A forward-looking program
CanWEA 2019 is the meeting place for Canada’s wind energy industry, and the can’t-miss networking event of the year.
About 1,200 business leaders, experts, policy-makers and other influencers will gather for a vibrant and forward-looking three-day program that provides insight you can’t find elsewhere.
CanWEA 2019 is where influencers and insiders will gather to see how renewable energy is evolving, where it’s going, and how they can stay ahead of the game.
“I find it a great place to network and to learn about new trends,” said Warner.
“Everybody has their competitive advantage, everyone has an edge, but there’s a lot of synergies that are not proprietary.
“There’s a lot of ways the industry can work together to further advance our collective goals — to broaden the adoption of renewable energy in as many markets as possible.”
“I see the CanWEA conference as a core tenet to that. There’s not too many in the industry who I know who miss it.”