On the grid – Invest Medicine Hat

On the grid

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Medicine Hat College will host Alberta’s first microgrid testing facility.

March 27, 2018

Federal and provincial governments announced over $740,000 in funding for the future Community Renewable Energy Microgrid Demonstration Project (CREMDP) at Medicine Hat College.

Western Economic Diversification Canada announced it would contribute over $526,000 towards the design, engineering and construction of the microgrid. The Government of Alberta’s CARES program will contribute an additional $215,000.

“Medicine Hat College’s Community Renewable Energy Microgrid Demonstration Project will support students’ and innovators’ abilities to experiment, research, demonstrate and commercialize clean energy technologies,” says the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “Their outcomes will help further Canada’s efforts in meeting its climate change goals.”

A microgrid is a small electrical grid that can disconnect from the traditional grid and operate autonomously. The CREMDP at Medicine Hat College will be an open-access one megawatt microgrid demonstration system that allows students and innovators to test and showcase new products and processes.

“There will be increasing opportunities for people to develop business concepts and careers in the field,” says David Petis, vice president advancement and community relations at Medicine Hat College. “Medicine Hat College is thankful for this support as it will increase our capacity to support education and innovation.”

The project is expected result in six new technologies, assist 50 companies, attract 150 investors to the site and train 150 students in the renewable energy field.

Medicine Hat is poised to be the renewable energy service centre for Southeast Alberta. Currently, there are 85 proposed solar and wind projects in the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) queue and 41% of them are proposed for Southeast Alberta, according to the 2017 Southeast Alberta Energy Diversification Symposium (SEEDS) Report.

Due to the region’s rich solar and wind resources, skilled workers, and history in in energy development, SEEDS predicts the region will become a leader in wind and solar energy.

National and regional governments are funding the project and the local government is also providing support. The City of Medicine Hat will provide validation and attestation of energy generated by assets within the CREMDP and support regulatory frameworks. For example, the City has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Blue Energy Solar Wind Canada to develop a renewable energy project on the microgrid.

Once built, the CREMDP will be the first of its kind in Alberta.