Smart Grid Atlantic: a living labThe Smart Grid Atlantic initiative will determine how energy technologies of the future can provide customer, community, and provincial benefits such as cleaner local power, more renewable energy, new energy solutions and more reliable electricity.
Creating Smart Energy Communities in Atlantic Canada
Announced in 2019, Siemens Canada, New Brunswick Power (NB Power) and Nova Scotia Power (NSP) received federal funding for a joint pilot project aimed at analyzing challenges and opportunities posed by Canada's energy transition. The partners are researching and testing how the grid of the future can optimize the integration of renewable sources of energy, ensure the stability of the grid and manage decentralized distribution. The aim is to better manage the provinces' electricity, potentially reduce consumers' future electricity costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Smart Grid Atlantic project deploys Siemens Energy System Platform (ESP) in both provinces (New Brunswick and Nova Scotia). The benefits of distributed energy resources (DERs) and entire microgrids for utilities and customers will be maximized through a series of smart energy community projects. A wide array of grid-edge devices and community and utility-scale assets will be connected. This includes:
- Residential solar, storage, water heaters, heat pumps, etc.
- Fleet and residential electrical vehicle charging
- Building automation systems
- Commercial solar, storage and loads
- Community solar and utility-scale storage
This project is a living lab for utilities to understand how customers engage with new offerings. It is demonstrating how to design new business models, create value, and analyze how incentive structures can influence behaviour. With all stakeholders involved, it is providing a critical roadmap for an efficient and cost-effective energy transition, leading to a more resilient and sustainable future.
This partnership is truly ground-breaking. We are creating the grid of the future where everyone can participate in the energy market.Faisal Kazi, President and CEO, Siemens Canada
Siemens Energy System Platform (ESP)
At the heart of the Smart Grid Atlantic project is an Energy System Platform (ESP) developed and deployed by Siemens.
The ESP is a cloud-based platform equipped with the latest technologies, including artificial intelligence, to help utilities converge and manage all the distributed resources across its system. Smart energy communities connected to the ESP are an integral part of the energy system, as the platform can connect to a wide array of energy resources. This includes solar photovoltaic (PV) and other generators, battery storage, commercial and industrial loads, smart water heaters, electric vehicle chargers and even entire microgrids.
The ESP not only optimizes the overall system in real-time but also opens the energy market to everyone, which encourages the entry of new players and drives the introduction of new business models for stakeholders like independent power producers (IPPS), prosumers and flexible commercial and residential consumers.
The ESP offers various integration options for utility-controlled as well as privately-owned assets, from direct connection to distributed energy resources (DERs) at the edge of the grid, including those “behind the meter.” There is also integration with aggregators of flexible loads and renewable generators, as well as with dedicated clouds established by the manufacturers or vendors of residential energy equipment.
This technology can significantly reduce the cost of maintaining the existing grid. It is an intelligent investment for distribution – integrating digital and operational technologies, enabling advanced forecasting and scheduling functionalities, and using analytics to optimize the system’s overall configuration. This includes leveraging DERs for services at both the transmission and local distribution levels, and encompasses active as well as reactive power through smart inverters.