Several Ontario local hydro utilities recognized on Parliament Hill for innovation excellence. (Source: “Photo Gallery.” Canadian Electricity Association, 29 May 2018, cea-ksiu6qbsd.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/DSCF3790.jpg)

Canadian electricity distributors are at the forefront of sector innovation, with Ontario’s local hydro utilities leading efforts through cutting-edge modernization projects. That is why it was no surprise when the efforts of many were recognized with prestigious awards from the Canadian Electricity Association, the national voice for safe, secure and sustainable electricity.

The awards were part of the inauguration of the Centre of Excellence, an initiative from the association to showcase the kind of ingenuity possible when policy and private and public partnerships are aligned.

Ontario local hydro utilities recognized as part of the 2018 Canadian Electricity Association Centre of Excellence showcase include:

  • Hydro Ottawa – Hydro Ottawa was recognized for three of their innovation projects. For example, Hydro Ottawa is leveraging social media and integrated video technology to drive customer engagement and provide instant customer service notifications. Using live-streaming services and drone footage to inform customers in real time of potential outages and service issues. Read on to find out more about this project as well as the others that received recognition.
  • Alectra Utilities – Alectra Utilities’ POWER.HOUSE pilot program is providing a glimpse of Canada’s energy future by showcasing how residential customers can simultaneously generate their own clean energy and work together as a virtual power plant to displace their reliance on energy from the grid and help prevent outage disruptions. Canada’s first virtual power plant uses an aggregate fleet of 20 residential solar and battery storage systems located at customer homes, which can be controlled autonomously through intelligent software to simulate a single, larger power generating facility. The technology uses a combination of rooftop solar PV panels and a lithium-ion battery installed “behind the meter” at participating customers’ homes. Learn more here.
  • Utilities Kingston – Utilities Kingston was recognized for a project that involves an innovative solution to help integrate distributed generation resources safely and reliably. An issue called “islanding” occurs when a distributed energy resource, such as a solar project, continues to feed electricity into the distribution system after there has been an outage or absence of a load. This creates a potential hazard for utility line-workers who may not be aware that they are dealing with a live line. Utilities Kingston leveraged collaboration across its fibre optic networking, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition and engineering groups to transfer trip communications, remote monitoring and control that takes place over its fibre optic network. Read more here.
  • Oakville Hydro – Oakville Hydro is implementing a ”first-in-Ontario” progressive tool called Distribution State Estimation (DSE), which is a key function for online monitoring and analysis in the distribution control room. The new DSE functionality is being deployed as part of the Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS) from Survalent Technology Corporation. The DSE module provides control room operators with a detailed and precise assessment of operational grid characteristics that is constantly updated, based on changing loads and system conditions. Read on here.

All utilities recognized from coast-to-coast-to-coast were invited to a celebration on Parliament Hill in the Senate chambers. The reception included executives, senior-level policy makers, and both provincial and federal government officials. It took place on May 29 and included remarks from Kim Rudd, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, and David Lametti, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development,.

Congratulations to all of the Ontario LDCs recognized. Explore the winners’ innovation excellence, and learn more about local hydro innovation here.