February 8, 2018

Testing battery storage in Elmsdale with the Intelligent Feeder Project


What do you get when you mix a wind farm, a substation, and nearly a dozen Tesla batteries? Let us introduce you to the Intelligent Feeder Project.

This pilot project is one of a number of innovation initiatives underway to help us learn how technology can help us better serve you, our customers.

The project involves installing a grid-size battery (Tesla Powerpack) at our Elmsdale substation and 10 residential batteries (Tesla Powerwalls) at homes in the community of Elmsdale, which is partially powered by the wind turbine located in Hardwood Lands.

“Technology such as battery storage is making traditional utility systems smarter,” says Jill Searle, Project Manager. “This project is one of the first of its kind that we know about, and we’re excited to be leading the charge. It has great potential to positively impact the reliability of our system and help us provide power to customers when they need it most.”

The Hardwood Lands wind farm generates clean energy, but like the other 600 MW of wind on our system, can only generate in certain weather conditions. If there is no wind, it doesn’t generate. If there is weak wind, it doesn’t produce much electricity, so other generation sources are needed. If it’s too windy, the turbine must shut down for safety reasons.

All 10 of the Powerwalls were installed this fall by MPOWER Energy Solutions. The Candows are one of the Elmsdale families who are participating in the project and have had a Powerwall installed in their home. Mark Candow said he is committed to minimizing his family's impact on the environment, and is interested in eventually pairing his Powerwall with solar technology and purchasing an electric vehicle to become even more energy efficient.

“With two young boys, we naturally care about sustainability and using our energy smarter,” he says. Mark notes that over the past few years he’s seen many more wind turbines around the province, and it’s an encouraging sign.

Overall, Nova Scotia’s generation mix is becoming cleaner and cleaner. We’ve tripled our renewable energy generation over the past decade, achieving 28 per cent renewable electricity generation in 2016 and are on track to meet 40 per cent renewable energy in 2020.  

The substation battery is installed at the substation and will soon begin the heavy data collection and analysis. Check www.nspower.ca/intelligentfeeder for project updates.

Project partially funded by Sustainable Development Technology Canada.