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Largest battery storage system in Canada coming to eastern Ontario

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Electric cars, heat pumps and a growing population are creating an increased need for more electricity, and a battery storage system will help to provide power during those peak periods.

What if electricity could be stored, at a large scale –batteries charged when there is less strain on the power grid, and used during peak times?

Saving Electricity – on a large scale

While the technology already exists, the largest battery storage system facility in Canada is coming to eastern Ontario.

"Ontario has actually taken a bit of a leading role in terms of the amount and the volume of storage that's being deployed and how quickly we're actually deploying it," Marko Cirovic, senior manager, resource development and procurement with the Independent Electricity System Operator told CTV News Ottawa.

The plan is to build a facility in a field located just east of Spencerville -- about an hour south of Ottawa. 

The storage facility will be built on 30 acres of rural land about 1km north of Dobbie Road in Edwardsburgh Cardinal, Ontario.

With a capacity of 390-megawatts, it will be the largest battery storage system in Canada.

"One of the many tools that we're deploying to make sure that we are able to keep the lights on," said Cirovic.

As the thirst for more electricity increases in the province, "we're actually seeing a 60 per cent demand increase over the next 25 years in Ontario," says Cirovic.

The facility will charge batteries when there is less demand on the energy grid, and power whenever need be.

"Battery storage facilities are really going to target charging overnight when the price of electricity is low, where demand is low. And then during those peak periods during the day, specifically on those hot summer days when everyone's flipping on their air conditioners, they'll be injecting into the grid and really helping us meet those peak demand moments across Ontario," added Cirovic.

Here's what it looks like:

The site will consist of approximately 400 shipping container-sized batteries.

"This is kind of out in the middle of nowhere, too. So, it makes sense to pull that extra power off the line (and) save it when we need it. Yeah, Just hopefully not too much disruption. No loud noises," Greg Vanfoort who lives just down the road told CTV News Ottawa.

(Source: Potentia)

Tory Descamps, Mayor of Edwardsburgh Cardinal says the $750 million dollar investment is about creating infrastructure for future homes and welcoming the industry.

"I think that it'll signal that eastern Ontario is a place to locate. It is a place to be. And it's a great place to locate a business and an industry," said Deschamps.

The project is also a boost for the municipality, with a deal for $300,000 per year for a community benefit fund, and tax revenue over the lifespan of the project, adds Deschamps.

"So, over the term of the 21-year-contract, it's going to provide over $30 million," he said.

The council at nearby Elizabethtown-Kitley Township – Rob Smith -- said no to a similar pitch late last year, banning future projects for the remainder of its term.

"Our concern at that time was safety and hazards," said Smith.

The proposed location, says Smith, was too close to existing homes and farm areas with livestock.

"What could happen if there was a fire that never did break out? The toxic fumes, the off-gassing … and we're a volunteer fire department," Smith added.

The company that's building the facility says the technology is used globally -- at a large scale.

"I think with any new development, you have to make sure that it's safe. And from a fundamental perspective, we own these assets long-term and we have to make sure that they operate safely," Will Patterson, senior project manager with Potentia told CTV News Ottawa.

Patterson says there will also be a sound buffering wall erected, and the site, will also be built one kilometer from the road.

"Of course, we're going to have an emergency response plan because even though we design it and demonstrate that it meets all these standards in the worst case scenario, we want to make sure it's still safe," said Patterson.

The project is expected to be up and running in 2027.

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