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Integrated Dispatchable Resource Network for Local Electric Distribution Utility

Strategic Area

Smart Grid Demonstration & Deployment




  • Aquanta
  • Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
  • Delta Star Inc.
  • FLO
  • Mysa
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Open Systems International
  • OSO Hotwater
  • Power Precision
  • Stash Energy
  • Sunverge Energy
  • Tesla
  • The City of Saint John
  • University of New Brunswick


Green Infrastructure



GI Contribution

$ 4,600,000 – Demonstration

$ 1,127,000 - Deployment

Project Total

$ 14,348,614


Saint John, NB

Find out more

Saint John Energy

Smart Energy Project

Smart Energy Participation Form

Smart Energy Project - Public Report

Smart Energy Project - Zero30

SJE Zero30 Plan

Lead Proponent

The Power Commission of The City of Saint John (Saint John Energy)

Project Objectives

Saint John Energy's smart control centre

Saint John Energy's smart control centre

  • Text version Inside Saint John Energy's smart control centre, an integral part of the smart grid the firm is creating as part of its vision to build the Utility of the Future for Saint John. The innovative smart grid captured a 2021 Award of Excellence from the International Smart Grid Action Network. (A control room operator sits in front of a wall of computer monitors in a control room displaying different maps and control schematics of the Saint John Energy electricity grid.)

The journey to Net-Zero requires a transition from large-scale, centralised power generation to efficiently managing an ever-growing fleet of renewable and intermittent distributed energy resources (DERs). Additionally, it requires increased grid capacity from higher amounts of electrification of transportation and residential heating. DER management has progressed to focus on network operations and dispatch. Not only do these factors lead to constant growth in devices, systems, data, and the complexity that must be managed for grid operations, they also create opportunities. DERs along with Demand Response fit into the wider energy landscape to further electrify and provide clean energy solutions.

This Project demonstrated that weather forecasting and other relevant data can be correlated with the utility load shape such that system peaks and valleys can be accurately predicted in advance to improve load factor and system efficiency. The machine-learned predictability of the load shape was utilized to dispatch various smart energy devices; electrical storage (utility-scale and residential-scale batteries, electric vehicles), thermal storage devices (hot water tanks, heat pump energy storage), and load control elements (baseboard heaters, heat pumps, and standby generators), such that the system is optimized. The dispatching algorithm considers the unique value proposition of each smart energy device. The Project has developed a significant level of artificial intelligence and machine-learning sophistication required to make timely and cost-effective decisions to manage peak loads.


Tesla Megapack battery

Tesla Megapack battery

  • Text version Saint John Energy was the first in the world to deploy a 1.25MW Tesla Megapack battery in 2019. The utility-scale battery helps the company manage peak energy demand. (Two Saint John Energy staff stand next to the utility's Tesla Megapack battery while monitoring its performance.)

The Project was completed in mid-2022. The Project consisted of the installation of a state-of-the-art advanced Smart Control Center (SCC), along with the integration of smart energy resources within SJE's distribution system (DERs), plus the development of a new Integrated System Manager (ISM) that utilizes machine-learning and artificial intelligence for the prediction of loads and the optimal dispatching of DERs. The DERs consist of a utility-scale battery, back-up diesel generators, conservation voltage reduction (CVR) transformers, smart water heaters, smart heat pumps, dispatchable thermal storage heat pumps, smart electric thermostats, residential batteries, EV chargers, and integration of utility-owned solar panels. All the DERs were connected in real time through various dashboards and IoT communications directly to the SCC and the ISM. All systems are operational and SJE is currently collecting operational data to analyze the techno-economic performance of the various smart energy devices across different use cases.

The Project provides a real-world demonstration with true end-to-end customer engagement as to what can be achieved with DERs, and how they can be used to improve grid reliability, save on energy costs, and make an impact on the environment. The Project was successfully completed on -budget and on-time with a fully demonstratable platform.

Benefits to Canada

The Project provided training to several highly qualified personnel (HQP), and a number of new employees were hired to support this innovative project.

The Project resulted in peak demand cost savings to SJE and in turn, to its customers, by increasing system efficiency and reducing costly peak charges. The average demand of the grid is decreased along with environmental costs associated with operations. The Project also provided behind the meter benefits to SJE customers, such as a customer mobile application that increases energy awareness through visibility into energy use by appliance, as well as the possibility of participation in future incentive programs. The Project developed a workable system for integrated control and dispatch of DERs that can be scaled within Saint John Energy, and replicated in other jurisdictions.

The Project provides examples of effective customer engagement strategies that support the operation of the electrical grid.

Next Steps

Saint John Energy will continue to operate its smart grid platform and glean important operating data and experience around DER performance and system load profiles. From there, SJE will refine each DER solution and provide scale ups of additional DERs (where it makes economic sense) and integration of renewable energy within SJE’s distribution grid.


The Project was recognized as the winner of the 2021 Award of Excellence from ISGAN for the theme "Excellence in Smart Grids for Future Proofing the Grid Operation via Advanced Digitalisation & IoT".

See the media release on their website:

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