The rapidly growing U.S. energy storage industry deployed 71 megawatts and 234 megawatt-hours of capacity in the first quarter of 2017.

Now, Canada is showing signs of life with a 12.8-megawatt/52.8-megawatt-hour energy storage project to be built and installed by Powin Energy.

It will be the largest energy storage project in Canada when operational.

Powin has joined with Hecate Energy to build and install the project at two sites in Ontario, using a modular 140-kilowatt element to construct the systems. The project applies energy storage to frequency regulation, voltage control, and reactive power support.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is employing these projects as part of its long-term energy plan and expects the systems to be on-line by the end of September 2017. That's one of the clear advantages of energy storage: fast deployment.

The company building this system has experience in rapid installations; Powin deployed a 2-megawatt/9-megawatt-hour storage system in less than six months to help compensate for the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak in Southern California Edison territory. (Tesla, Greensmith Energy and AES Energy Storage completed even bigger projects for the Aliso leak in six months' time.)

"When IESO announced 34 megawatts of Phase 1 procurement back in July 2014, it was the largest such procurement of energy storage in North America, of which the Hecate project was the single biggest award. Since then, the project, along with the remainder of Phase 1 projects, haven't become operational yet. It almost seems like eons ago in storage years," said Ravi Manghani, director of energy storage research at GTM.

"From Powin's perspective, the delay couldn't have worked any better," Manghani explained. "Back in 2014, Powin was still an early-stage company throwing everything at the dartboard, but since then it has received investment from SFCE (parent company of Suntech), and Powin has slowly but surely started winning contracts in California and the Pacific Northwest -- and now this 52-megawatt-hour contract in Canada."

According to GTM Research, the total Aliso Canyon energy storage procurement will amount to 104.5 megawatts, which is a little less than 10 percent of California’s overall mandate to build 1.3 gigawatts of energy storage by 2020.

Earlier this month, Powin Energy announced a 6.5-megawatt, 26-megawatt-hour project for SDG&E in Escondido, California to provide resource adequacy to cope with the loss of the San Onofre nuclear power plant and the coming closure of some gas-fired power plants in Southern California.

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