Electrical system resiliency sought for North Shore

·2 min read

The erratic electrical distribution of energy users on the NBorth Shore could be a thing of the past if Nelson Hydro lands its latest grant.

The city-owned utility has been given the green light to apply for a CleanBC grant to address reliability and resiliency on the North Shore through the Battery Energy Storage System (BESS).

To be installed on the North Shore of Nelson, the application combines a Federal Investing in Canada Infrastructure grant with Provincial CleanBC funds for a total of 73 per cent of eligible project costs.

Nelson Hydro general manager Scott Spencer said the project would have many facets as well as many positive spin-offs.

“The North Shore BESS project will enable Nelson Hydro to charge the system during off-peak hours and feed this energy back into the grid during peak load periods, typically around the dinner hours of 5 – 7 p.m.,” he said in a release from the city.

Although the system would be designed to operate throughout the year, it will be particularly important during extreme cold periods like those experienced in February and December 2021, Spencer added.

“During these cold snaps, the peak load on the Nelson Hydro system set new demand charges for purchased power from FortisBC,” he said.

“The BESS will assist in smoothing out these peaks and reduce the cost of purchased power, helping to keep rates lower.”

Spencer also explained that the system will improve the resiliency of the electrical distribution on the North Shore.

“During power outages, the BESS will be able to supply power, reducing the number of customers affected and the duration homes and businesses are without power,” he said.

The project to build the BESS — which aligns with the City of Nelson’s Climate Action Plan, Nelson Next and Nelson Hydro’s five-year capital plan — also ties into the plan to build a new substation on the North Shore.

The CleanBC grant application is due on May 25, 2022. The approval of shortlisted projects is anticipated in September 2023.

Timothy Schafer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Nelson Daily

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