USA: National Instruments has partnered with Prolucid LocalGrid Technologies Inc. (LocalGrid) to build the next-generation energy management system for Toronto Hydro-Electric System Ltd.
Funded by nearly $2.5 million in grants from Canada's ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative and Ontario's Smart Grid Fund, the project takes advantage of distributed intelligence technology to manage renewable energy generated by the community onto the power grid.
In addition to allowing for increased generation capacity, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the integrated platform can improve reliability and efficiency across the electric power system.
The LocalGrid solution addresses an unexpected challenge created by clean energy incentives. Due to the country's vast size, cold climate and expansive economy, Canada has one of the highest rates of per capita energy consumption in the world.
To promote conservation and efficiency, the federal and provincial governments provide rebates to households and businesses for renewable energy installations. In some areas, the boom in solar panels and wind turbines actually generate more power than the existing infrastructure can handle, resulting in valuable electricity being wasted.
Toronto Hydro, the largest municipal electric utility in Canada, is working with LocalGrid to develop a distributed approach for managing generation without requiring expensive new power lines or capital equipment. LocalGrid's software uses CompactRIO devices installed on the grid to control and monitor community generation sources.