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Interoperability and Non-Wires Alternative Demonstration

Strategic Area

Smart Grid Demonstration




Green Infrastructure



GI Contribution

$ 5 M

Project Total

$ 11 M


York Region, ON

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Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO)

IESO York Region Non Wires Alternatives Demonstration Project (IESO website)

IESO York Region Non-Wires Alternatives Demonstration Project (Alectra website)

Lead Proponent

Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO)

Project Objectives

The objective of the project is to investigate newly proposed, advanced, whole-system operation and market models for a smart grid, high Distributed Energy Resources (DER) future, with a focus on the division of grid functions among entities (new and/or existing) and interoperability at the Transmission-Distribution interface.

The project will focus on:

  • Development of an interoperability framework, assessing division of grid functions, transmission-distribution coordination requirements, technical feasibility, and cost-benefit.
  • Design of a Non-Wires Alternative (NWA) market for third party service providers that is interoperable with participation in the IESO’s wholesale markets on a demonstration basis.
  • Development of communication and dispatch protocols for IESO, local distribution companies, DERs and aggregators, and deployment of information and communication technology infrastructure needed for demonstration purposes.
  • Demonstration of new distribution-level functions and coordination with wholesale-level functions.

Expected Results

This project would be the first-of-its-kind implementation in Ontario, using grid interoperability and NWA resources as a strategy to defer investment in load supply infrastructure.

If fully deployed, concepts demonstrated in this project may improve grid flexibility and operability, potentially resulting in improved hosting capacity, penetration of renewable generation, and emission reductions.

Results may also improve the business case for local deployment of DERs, which would in turn increase customer and community choice over how electricity is generated, used and paid for. As well, concepts being demonstrated could help reduce the total cost of electricity service to customers.

Project Updates

The project has solicited stakeholder feedback from Direct Participants and Aggregator Participants via a public IESO webinar and incorporated feedback into final Demonstration Program Rules and Contracts for Energy Services. The demonstration web-based platform went live at; videos were developed by Alectra and webinar sessions held to guide participants on how to use the platform, including how to register resources and offer submissions for participation in the November 18, 2020 Local Capacity Auction (LCA). The November 2020 Local Capacity Auction (LCA) successfully cleared a diverse set of resources to meet the Capacity Target at a competitive clearing price, consisting of Direct Participants and Aggregator Participants that included demand response, combined heat and power and storage resources. The project has also developed guidance for bid/offer submission and outage management in preparation for the commencement of the 6-month Commitment Period of the Local Energy Auction (LEA) on May 1, 2021.

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