NRStor’s CEO talks energy storage at 9th Annual Renewable Energy Conference in Halifax

Posted April 17, 2014 in Industry News, News

Annette Verschuren says she is working on bringing bright ideas back home to Nova Scotia.

The Cape Breton native, now the CEO of NRStor Inc., a developer of energy storage projects, said the Toronto company is eyeing opportunities in the province.

“Money is not an issue,” she said.

“If we can get a contract with Nova Scotia Power Inc., it’s not an issue. I can get the financing. The money will come if the right economics are there.”

The former president of Home Depot Canada was in Halifax on Tuesday for the ninth annual Renewable Energy Conference.

Her company, which started in July, is partnering with businesses that manufacture and integrate flywheel, compressed air and battery storage systems. The goal is to take energy being produced during non-peak hours, hold it and release it back to the grid when needed, she said.

“We need to find ways to use our surplus energy, and we can’t afford to curtail our wind, our solar energy, our biomass — we can’t. But it’s happening,” Verschuren said.

“In Ontario, 200 megawatts of wind (energy was) curtailed because the system can’t absorb that wind at night when it was being produced. There was nothing to store it.”

NRStor is about to commission its first project north of Cambridge, Ont., using Temporal Power’s flywheel technology for frequency regulation, she said. The company got a fixed-price deal with Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator, which manages the province’s electrical system, and is expected to begin operation in May, she said.

Verschuren met with Premier Stephen McNeil and Energy Minister Andrew Younger on Monday.  She said she told them about “what a great opportunity they had in really developing the technology and the energy sector, and talked to them about storage and about the smart grid, talked to them about taking this as an opportunity to create jobs.”

Nova Scotia is already doing a number of things right, including the Community Feed-In Tariff program for local renewable energy projects and the establishment and continuation of Efficiency Nova Scotia, Verschuren said.

“You guys are probably the most progressive province in Canada in terms of reducing fossil fuels.”

Even the controversial Maritime Link project, which will bring hydroelectricity from Labrador to Nova Scotia, will “absolutely” be worth the investment in the long run to have lower energy and operating costs, she said.

While some people may complain about Nova Scotia Power Inc.’s monopoly, she said it’s “a big advantage.”

“They’re easy to poke at, but I think they’re part of the solution,” she said.

It’s time for companies and decision makers to take some risks to develop the technology, she said. These strides will not only be better for the environment, she said, but will lower energy costs to ratepayers and will make money for businesses

Verschuren is pushing for a project in Nova Scotia but isn’t sure about the location. She has property in Cape Breton but said the project could be anywhere. Digby, with its tidal capability, ferry and the possibility of electricity transmission, could be an interesting location, she said.

Before NRStor could proceed, she said, it would need the government, the utility, non-government groups, First Nations and the local community to get together and say they want it.

“The energy’s got to come from the people that are impacted by decisions.

“The decisions from on high, that model’s not working very well anymore.”

 

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