August 2019 Newsletter

This month brings a lot of exciting industry and company news, and we have it all here for your convenience!

Renewable Energy Industry – What’s Happening?

Large-Scale Lithium Batteries are the Future of the Energy Grid

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As renewable energy demands soar, the need for efficient, low cost, large-scale energy storage systems is also rising. Lithium batteries have been identified as a major part of the future of any renewable energy transition. From powering electric vehicles to supporting an entire electrical grid, batteries have quickly become the energy storage medium of choice. This has been reflected by the massive investments within the battery storage industry in which lithium batteries are a major draw. Current predictions indicate that the worldwide investment in batteries is set to surpass $620 billion by 2040, making the industry one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world.1

This Ontario Town is Trying to be Canada’s First Carbon-Neutral Community

The town of Eden Mills is working toward a new goal: becoming Canada’s first carbon-neutral community. In 2013, the town was 75% of the way to neutrality. Household emissions were down by 554 tonnes annually, while carbon sequestration resulting from greenery added by the community increased by 277 tonnes, or six per cent. (Preliminary results from a more recent count suggest the village is even closer, with the footprint down by 22 per cent.)2

Lithium Producer in Central Alberta Aims for Net-Zero Facility

Lithium – soft, silvery-white alkali metal, similar to potassium or sodium – is one of the main components of batteries, and a crucial resource for the energy storage industry. Chris Doornbos has always had a hard time finding opportunities in clean energy, until he started thinking about lithium. He came across a report from the Government of Alberta about lithium, and discovered the availability of an unexplored, underappreciated asset right in his own backyard. Chris went on to found a lithium development company, utilizing old wells drilled during the oil rush in central Alberta. No further drilling or land disturbance has been needed, and the company estimates there is 6.7 million tonnes of lithium in the reservoirs, making it one of the largest sources of lithium in the world.3

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Being Built Along Trans-Canada Hwy in Saskatchewan

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Tesla, Petro-Canada and Canadian Tire are all planning to build fast-charging stations in Saskatchewan. Petro-Canada’s Regina station soft-launched on Tuesday, and three more in the province are expected to be up and running by the end of September. Tesla is planning to have seven Supercharger stations in the province this year, with some already under construction. Canadian Tire is planning 10 charging locations, and is hoping to have them operating towards the end of next year. The Tesla and Petro-Canada charging stations are both part of cross-country networks, meaning the all the Saskatchewan locations will be near the Trans-Canada Highway.4

Northern Ontario First Nation Hooked up to New Solar Grid to Offset Diesel Usage

Officials in Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek, also known as Gull Bay First Nation, in northwestern Ontario will unveil a new electricity system which is designed to reduce the community’s reliance on diesel generators to supply power. The microgrid system uses more than 1,000 ground-mounted solar panels that are wired to a central controller and battery storage system, according to Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (ISEO).  The community will be powered by the solar batteries as long as there is enough of a charge; when that runs out, the controller will seamlessly switch the system back to the diesel generators until the batteries are recharged with solar power.5

Global Wind Power Capacity to Grow by 60% Over Next 5 Years

The outlook for the global wind market is on the upswing. According to Wood Mackenzie’s latest global wind power market update, global wind power capacity is expected to grow by 60 percent over the next five years. Their latest forecast shows a 5-gigawatt upgrade in the global offshore sector alone, yielding 129 gigawatts of new capacity and a compound annual growth rate of 26 percent for the burgeoning segment.6

Government of Canada Invests in Conservation and Transit for the Mountain National Parks

Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced federal investments totalling nearly $14 million for conservation projects in the mountain national parks in Alberta and British Columbia, and public transit solutions in Banff National Park to help people get around in a faster, cheaper and cleaner way.

The projects include helping to lower the risks associated with wildfires; the recovery of Whitebark and Limber Pines, which are integral to the health of their ecosystem as a soil stabilizer and important source of food for wildlife; and, the restoration of the Westlope Cutthroat Trout population.

In addition, the Government of Canada is partnering with the Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission to implement transit solutions in Banff National Park. The investment will continue to fund service connections between the Banff and Calgary area, as well as local Banff area transit services including connections to Lake Minnewanka, the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Tunnel Mountain campgrounds, Johnston Canyon and the Upper Hot Springs.7

Schneider Electric News

You are invited! Join us October 17th, 2019 for the annual PowerLogic Users Group (PLUG) conference. It’s free and anyone can join!

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What is it?

The conference brings together industry leading experts in electrical metering, energy management and power quality analysis to review unique applications and best practices. Case studies, energy management strategies and product updates are presented industry leading experts as well as Schneider Electric product managers and senior technical application experts. The conference typically draws three hundred attendees who are already power and energy management systems for monitoring, energy management and conservation.

How do I join?

Go to to register now or for more information about the Conference, including a schedule of events. Let us know if you’re joining us on our Twitter or LinkedIn!

Local News

Ferrochrome Plant Holds Promise of Well-Paying Jobs for Sault Ste. Marie

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In May, Noront chose Sault Ste. Marie as the future home of its ferrochrome processing facility, selecting the Sault over Timmins, Thunder Bay and Sudbury. The Sault facility will process ore from the Ring of Fire metals camp in Ontario’s James Bay Lowlands. The average wage at the Noront Resources ferrochrome processing facility in Sault Ste. Marie will be $108,000, Stephen Flewelling, the company’s chief development officer told a Sault audience. Noront expects to have between 1,000 and 1,500 workers on site during the three years it will take to build the Sault facility, which will eventually employ more than 500 permanent staff. At the current price for ferrochrome on the U.S. market, $1.40, that would produce annual revenue of almost $1 billion Canadian. And that’s just the first step of Noront’s plan, using a Sault workforce of 300 to 400 workers. The company wants to eventually double its production as the market allows.8

Water, Sewage Upgrades to Smooth Way for New Jobs at the Airport

To assist with Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation (SSMADC) maintenance needs and ongoing plans for development, Sault MP Terry Sheehan announced two bundles of federal government funding for the corporation under the airport’s flagpole Monday morning with airport officials and business figures in attendance.

$1.8 million in FedNor funding will go toward upgrading the airport’s water, sewer and electrical infrastructure improvements to support the growth of the airport’s industrial and commercial park.

In addition, Sheehan, on behalf of Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, announced funding for the SSMADC to purchase a new grader, valued at $217,100, for clearing ice and snow from runways, taxiways and the apron (delivery of which is expected before winter).9

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1Egan, Teague. (July 26, 2019). Large-Scale Lithium Batteries Are The Future of the Energy Grid. Retrieved from

2Naraghi, Alireza. (July 23, 2019). This Ontario Town is trying to be Canada’s first carbon-neutral community. Retrieved from

3Pye, Natasha. (2019). Lithium Producer in Central Alberta Aims for Net-Zero Facility. Retrieved from

4Melnychuk, Mark. (August 22, 2019). Electric vehicle charging stations being built along Trans-Canada Highway in Sask. Retrieved from

5CBC News. (August 16, 2019). Northern Ontario First Nation hooked up to new solar grid to help offset diesel usage. Retrieved from

6Lewandowski, Luke. (July 2019). Global Wind Power Capacity to Grow by 60% Over Next 5 Years. Retrieved from

7Parks Canada. (August 29, 2019). Government of Canada invests in conservation and transit for the mountain national parks. Retrieved from

8Helwig, David. (July 29, 2019). Ferrochrome plant holds promise of well-paying jobs for Sault Ste. Marie. Retrieved from

9Taylor, Darren. (August 26, 2019). Water, sewer upgrades smooth ay for 100 jobs at the airport: Sheehan. Retrieved from