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Ontario Tests Flywheel Storage to Stabilize a Renewable Grid

Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is testing flywheel storage as a tool for balancing electricity grids as they take on more and more decentralized, renewable electricity.

Ten flywheels supplied by Mississauga-based Temporal Power Ltd. “have been regulating around two megawatts worth of Ontario’s power grid at an IESO facility northwest of Toronto since July, discharging power when it’s needed and storing it when it’s not,” the Sauder School’s Clean Capital team reports. The massive, steel units spin at 12,000 rpm and weigh 4,000 kilograms (8,800 pounds).

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“As grids move towards a more diverse energy mix, IESO is looking for ways to balance ambient power like wind and solar with sources like coal, natural gas, and nuclear,” Wakefield writes. “In the IESO tests, the flywheels are up against several types of batteries and a system that stores power as hydrogen.”