Lac Mégantic Microgrid
Smart Grid Demonstration & Deployment
City of Lac Mégantic
- $2,000,000 – Demonstration
- $3,384,000 – Deployment
Lac Mégantic, QC
Find out more
Public Report: Lac-Mégantic:
First electric microgrid
island of Quebec (available in French only)
Following a train derailment and explosion in 2013 that destroyed half of downtown Lac-Mégantic, the town is rebuilding with a focus on sustainable development as a showpiece to reinvigorate the community and the region. In parallel, Hydro-Québec was looking to develop its first microgrid, and the rebuilding of Lac-Mégantic’s core from the ground up offered a unique opportunity to create a living laboratory where smart grid technologies and supporting business models can be tested, while supporting the energy transition in Québec.
Objectives of the town of Lac Mégantic:
- Position Lac-Mégantic as an energy transition leader for rural Canada
- Make Lac-Mégantic’s vision of a smart city a reality
- Help increase the town’s appeal as a hub of economic and technological innovation
Objectives of Hydro-Québec:
- Integrate and control Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) and home automation equipment in an innovative intelligent microgrid
- Master two-way power flow and the concept of islanding
- Manage demand during winter peak periods
- Understand user adoption factors
- Apply the model to off-grid communities to reduce fossil-fuel use and GHG emissions
The smart microgrid integrates a wide variety of technologies and is capable of operating on 100% renewable energy. The study area perimeter comprised approximately 30 buildings, including institutional, commercial and residential buildings, along with a solar park and battery energy storage system (BESS) connected to the 25-kV medium voltage network. The project entailed roughly 2200 solar panels (800 kW), 700 kWh of battery storage, an EV charging station, equipping buildings with smart devices, creating smart home systems, deploying energy efficiency measures, and developing centralized control system to optimize energy management and dispatch. The microgrid was successful operated in islanding mode, paving the way for autonomous operation if the main grid needs it.
Benefits to Canada
The successful demonstration and operation of Lac Mégantic’s microgrid technologies provides the groundwork in terms of expertise, technologies, and validation of microgrid standards (IEEE 2030.7 & 2030.8) to enable Hydro-Québec to replicate this model across the province in 22 remote communities that are isolated from the main grid and rely on fossil-based generation. The project also makes it possible to integrate renewable and decentralized energy resources into Hydro-Québec’s main grid and these remote communities. Microgrid technologies thus lead to direct and indirect reductions in GHGs. The project employed and enhanced the knowledge and skills of highly qualified personnel within and outside of Hydro-Québec, including local consulting engineering firms, contractors, original equipment manufacturers, and others. The microgrid and a public exhibition provide an additional attraction for visitors and tourists that generates economic benefits. Owners and users of the buildings targeted by the microgrid constitute a community of test subjects. Besides benefitting from the technologies in question, they’re in a position to share information on energy-saving practices and the challenges posed by the system.
Hydro-Québec has established an internal committee that meets every two months to monitor and evaluate the performance of the microgrid. These discussions are used to improve operation of the microgrid as well as to obtain relevant insights for ongoing and future projects related to scalability to other autonomous networks, augmenting the quality of service in remote areas, and urban microgrids. For instance, a feasibility study has been launched to evaluate the technical feasibility, expected impact, and techno-economic viability of a micro-network project in a targeted area. Finally, now that the microgrid is in service in downtown Lac-Mégantic, the next few years will be devoted to developing expertise, both citizen and professional, in relation to the integration of this type of equipment within the community and to spreading this project across the country. The creation of a new municipal governance model integrating the Commission for innovation and ecological transition (CIET) will make it possible to validate this innovative model involving both citizens and elected officials and to disseminate it to municipalities wishing to take a similar step in the energy transition.
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