February 2020

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34 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 0 Electrical & Communication Systems "prosumers" (customers that both produce and consume electricity) provide significant contribu- tions of distributed generation, and the resulting drop in utility revenue poses a challenge to the tra- ditional rate-based revenue stream for utilities who are still responsible for managing the safety and reliability of the electrical grid. As for initiatives and programs, BC Hydro has a number of which to choose from. Aside from the electricity conservation programs and programs that help improve building operations, they are also supporting the Provincial Government's CleanBC initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "In the commercial sector the program supports various offers targeting existing buildings, new construction and through transportation by install- ing chargers to support infrastructure to convert to electric vehicles," says Oscar Ceron, manager of BC Hydro's Power Smart New Construction Program. As previously mentioned, there are a number of challenges ahead when it comes to the EV chargers, but as of September 26, 2019, there has been a EV Charger Rebate Program available in B.C. "Funded by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and administered by BC Hydro and FortisBC, the CleanBC EV Charger Rebate Program provides rebates towards the cost of the purchase and installation of eligible Level 2 chargers for sin- gle-family homes, condos, and workplaces seeking solutions for their EV charging needs," explains Reid Arkinstall, program manager at BC Hydro. Looking ahead, BC Hydro is excited about the developments happening in the electrical realm and is developing a strategy for the commercial sec- tor to better understand the role buildings can play in supporting the grid of the future in terms of flex- ibility and sustainability. "The initiative is dubbed 'Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings,' and is primar- ily being supported by the US DOE. It is still in the early days, but questions are being asked regarding the appropriate mix of technologies that will meet the needs of the grid as well as contribute to cost- effective building operations," says Henderson. Of course, with the increasing power demands there are understandably concerns over the addi- tional strain on the grid. Rather than take a "wait and see" attitude, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is launching Ontario's first ever local electricity market in the York Region, with support from Alectra Utilities and Natural Resources Canada. The demonstration project is looking to both save costs and find affordable alternatives to building new transmission infrastructure. "Over the past decade we've seen the challenges and opportunities from small-scale generation. The IESO's Save on Energy programs for example have seen commercial building owners and operators put- ting in systems to reduce their energy demand. We also have a number of community-scale resources [about 4,000 megawatts] that went in under past procurement programs. We wondered how we can leverage these resources to better solve some of the challenges we are seeing for regional electricity plan- ning and unlock these community assets as more cost-effective alternatives than a traditional trans- mission line," explains Katherine Sparkes, director of innovation, research and development, who has been involved in the pilot project from the start. The York Region is one of the fastest growing regions in Ontario and is expected to grow and exceed system capability in the next 10 years. "We saw this emerging need and realized this would be a great chance to see how we could provide affordable alternatives," explains Sparkes. The big challenge of the project will be to figure out how to procure the local resources to meet peak demand. To solve this, the IESO has been looking at local capacity auctions. The other challenge, accord- ing to Sparkes, is how to operate these resources to meet wholesale and local system needs. "If I'm a building owner, for example, and I want to partici- pate in both the local and wholesale market, I need to know that the local and wholesale grid operators have protocols in place to co-ordinate their use of my asset at a certain time to ensure I can meet the needs of both markets," explains Sparkes. The IESO is planning to release two White Papers over the next few weeks that will explore the various options for creation of the local market – including eligibility for asset owners who would want to par- ticipate in the market. The first auction is expected to be held later this year with another to be held in 2021, and if they are a success, more will be sure to follow. "There is a huge potential here to avoid investment in more costly infrastructure. We can also leverage technolo- gies that owners are already using, while they take a more active role in a providing a cost-effective local electricity solution. It's very exciting," says Sparkes. A Fence People.indd 1 2018-07-10 8:55 AM COMPLEX ELECTRICAL PROJECTS DONE RIGHT Since 1973, innovation and an enthusiasm for challenging projects has made Western Pacific Enterprises one of BC's largest electrical contractors. No matter what your electrical needs are you can trust that Western Pacific has the experience required to deliver innovative and comprehensive solutions. 2019 Gold Award Stanton Territorial Hospital Over $8 Million Category

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