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Construction is underway on Alberta’s first renewable energy microgrid testing facility.

Dec. 21, 2018

This winter, crews are laying the groundwork for a new renewable energy microgrid testing facility at Medicine Hat College, known as the Community Renewable Energy Microgrid Demonstration Project (CREMDP).

In March 2018, federal and provincial governments announced over $740,000 in funding for the project, including over $526,000 from Western Economic Diversification, and $215,000 from the Government of Alberta’s CARES grant program.

According to Medicine Hat College, the microgrid is expected to result in six new technologies, assist 50 companies, attract 150 investors and train 150 students in the renewable energy field.

The project will consist of a solar canopy, two electric car charging stations and four vertical solar and wind turbines developed by Bluenergy Solarwind.

“We are excited to have this project built,” says Tracy Stroud, manager of business development at Medicine Hat College. “It will provide a valuable learning tool for our students and the community with hands-on experience and the generation of new data.”

“The grid’s location makes it an accessible learning tool for different courses,” says Stroud. “Also, it gives easy access to the charging station, potentially drawing more visitors into the city from the highway.”

Medicine Hat-based Terralta Inc. is overseeing construction of the CREMDP. The local renewable energy and mechanical services company was awarded the solar canopy portion of the project in partnership with ENMAX.

“Enmax and Terralta greatly value the opportunity this project offers,” says Marcus Campbell, director of operations at Terralta. “Anytime we have a chance to connect with educational institutions and community based projects, such as the microgrid, it is beneficial to our industry as a whole.”

Data collected from the CREMDP will give Enmax and Terralta the opportunity to assess industry best practices, collect real-time information to apply to future projects.

The CREMDP is expected to be completed in March 2019.