Study: Compressed Air Could Save Ontario $8 Billion Over 20 Years


Study: Compressed Air Could Save Ontario $8 Billion Over 20 Years A new technology to store excess energy generated by green energy sources could save Ontario up to $8 billion over a 20-year period, according to a study commissioned by NRStor and General Compression.

‘Ontario has made great strides in eliminating carbon emissions, but there is more work to be done,’ says Dr. Andrew Ford, author of the study and professor emeritus at Washington State University. ‘Renewable sources of energy can be unpredictable. Energy storage technology can make renewable energy available whenever it's needed – and that will pay dividends for Ontario.’

According to Ford, the benefits of CAES technology are as follows:

  • Full integration: Although the majority of Ontario's energy needs are met by nuclear and hydro-electric plants – sources of baseload generation – extra demand must be met by intermittent sources, such as wind or solar. Other times, it is met by gas-fired peaking plants.
  • Load leveling: Although Ontario has periods of excess demand, it also has periods of excess supply – when total demand in Ontario is less than the generating capacity of the nuclear fleet and hydro stations. Ontario must pay the owners of nuclear operating stations a fee to reduce their output, which is charged back to ratepayers, on top of the need to spill water at hydro plants. CAES reduces the need for this service by absorbing surplus baseload energy and delivering it back into the grid when demand warrants, saving the province up to $2.6 billion; and
  • Reduced carbon emissions: Ontario has achieved the single-largest greenhouse-gas reduction in North America by closing its coal-fired power plants. But as demand increases, so will carbon-emitting gas-fired generation, which is currently filling the gap. CAES can help curb these projected emissions by making wind investment more viable.

The study estimates that, through a combination of renewable energy integration and load leveling, 1000 MW of CAES capacity could deliver between $6.5 billion and $8.3 billion in savings to Ontario ratepayers over 20 years, while reducing carbon emissions by 87 million tons over the same period.

NRStor is developing a 2 MW CAES pilot project to allow Ontario decision-makers to see the benefits of the technology first hand.

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