Canadian community energy developer North Bay Hydro is set to partner with power systems equipment and service provider S&C Electric to build a microgrid for a planned community energy park in the city of North Bay, Ontario.

The North Bay Community Energy Park is planned to include a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) array on the city’s Aquatic Centre, which will be operable in island mode. The microgrid will allow the solar system to power a neighbouring ice skating rink, and will also power an electric vehicle charging station.

A natural gas-fired cogeneration plant is planned to help power the microgrid and to heat the Aquatic Centre, a 4000-seat arena and a swimming pool at the YMCA.

S&C will engineer, procure and contract-manage the automated microgrid, which will use the company’s GridMaster microgrid control system.

The project is expected to save the city more than $100,000 on the cost of heating the arena and swimming pool.

Ontario is part-funding the project to the tune of $1m.

Todd Wilcox, North Bay Hydro’s CEO, noted that the modular project means that “expansion will be easier as the site evolves as the needs of the community change” and that energy security is a driving factor behind the development.  

“The [arena] and Aquatic Centre will be used as a refuge point in times of crisis,” he said. “This will be one of the few complexes within a 100 km radius capable of keeping the lights and heat on while sheltering people if the main grid fails, for example due to an ice storm.”