SunGrid Solutions builds battery energy storage system for Kruger Energy

Buoyed by a supercharged battery energy storage market poised for increased global growth, Canadian company SunGrid Solutions Inc. takes centre stage on the world arena this month launching a system for Kruger Energy in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.

Kruger Energy made the decision to develop and install a 1MW/2MWh battery energy storage system to better control the electricity costs of a production site owned by Kruger Energy’s sister company, the Kruger Packaging Brampton Plant. Engineered and constructed by SunGrid, the system is comprised of battery technology from Powin Energy, as well as an operating platform from Peak Power.

“There are many benefits to a global adjustment battery energy storage system like this,” said Stefan Goertz, SunGrid Managing Partner, Business Development.

“It will allow the Kruger Packaging Brampton Plant to efficiently store low-cost energy, then discharge it at times when they have the greatest impact on energy prices. SunGrid is helping Kruger to take better control of the bill.”

“Kruger Energy has a pipeline of green energy projects and were seeking assistance with capitalizing on the opportunity of building such infrastructure,” said Jeremy Goertz, Managing Director of SunGrid.

“The Brampton project is unique, as it’s owned by the entity using it,” Jeremy adds. “In Ontario, most projects are owned by developers who contract end-users with a shared savings or other financial programs. It might be a few more years before end-user ownership becomes common, but we are supporting this growth similar to the growth of the solar industry.”

For Kruger Energy’s Energy Storage Manager, Cyrus Etemadi, the decision to partner with SunGrid was a “no-brainer.” As this was the company’s first pilot project with energy storage, an extensive request for proposal was issued to interested vendors, covering the major players with expertise on this technology.

“SunGrid and Powin Energy were extensively researched, with particular attention paid to the safety of battery storage,” he explained. “In the end, the lithium iron phosphate cell composition from Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) really stood out as unparalleled, with long life, non-toxic, landfill safe and no cobalt usage.”

Incorporated in 2011, SunGrid is headquartered in Cambridge, Ontario. It initially operated mainly in consulting until early 2018, when it transitioned into more of an energy storage platform focusing on engineering. In Cambridge, with offices in Buffalo and Houston, the Canadian owned-and-operated SunGrid is recognized for building highly efficient and reliable battery energy storage systems. SunGrid installations are located throughout North America, including in Ontario, Texas, New York, Oregon and Washington State.

Partnership continues to be vital to the growth and maintenance of the strong SunGrid network. A prime example is the relationship it has with Portland-based Powin Corporation, which provided the battery energy storage technology for the Kruger Energy project. The two are responsible for over 100MWh of successful Ontario projects that employ a network of skilled Canadians for engineering, integration, servicing and maintenance.

“Powin is pleased to team up with Kruger Energy and SunGrid to provide state-of-the-art energy storage solutions supporting sustainable energy initiatives,” said Blake Frye, Powin’s sales and marketing executive vice-president.

“With Kruger Energy’s commitment to renewable energy and SunGrid’s unparalleled experience in designing and building energy storage projects, we’re thrilled to be part of this winning project team.”

Ideal for SunGrid’s cutting-edge project in Brampton, Kruger Inc. is a diversified Canadian company with 10 divisions manufacturing a wide array of paper-based products, green energy, eco-friendly packaging products, cellulosic biomaterials, and wines and spirits.

Founded in 1904 in Montreal, Kruger Inc. is a privately held fourth-generation family company that owns 42 green energy power plants and produces more than 70 per cent of Ontario’s toilet paper, critical during the current COVID-19 crisis.

Mr. Etemadi says the company has been utilizing renewable energy facilities since 2004, paired directly with solar at project sites or indirectly, feeding off during off-peak hours.

“As a Canadian developer, we partnered in this important project because of its value,” he explained. “During the current Coronavirus crisis, our Brampton facility has been operating at 110 per cent capacity, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so energy storage is a huge benefit.

“From energy storage, hydroelectric, wind, solar power facilities and biomass co-generation plants, Kruger Energy is exclusively positioned to develop and manage renewable energy power plants across North America. As one of Canada’s most important recyclers, we believe in being proactive and partnering in every project.”

J.J. Davis, Kruger Energy’s Ontario and Western Canada General Manager who oversees the Brampton operation and asset management, says the goal is to effectively control and maintain the facility’s energy costs.

“I’m looking at high-quality performance, longer battery life and flexibility,” he said. “The marketplace is changing rapidly and adapting to different needs. With SunGrid and Powin, the other partner, Peak Power, handles dispatching commands. This can be a foundation for Canada, helping grow other projects.”

Matt Sachs, Chief Operating Officer for the Toronto-based Peak Power, a successful deployer of Ontario and New York storage systems, highlights the company’s role in controlling the battery to maximize revenues.

“Our Synergy software platform uses big data and machine learning to forecast electricity markets and optimize the operation of the batteries,” he said. “We believe energy storage has a very important role to play in the electricity grid-of-the-future.

“It has the ability to balance spikes in supply-and-demand on the grid, helping reduce costs while improving grid resiliency. We provide the software layer that tells the batteries when to charge and discharge based on our optimization algorithms. We’re pleased to team up with these partners.”

“Looking at the grid in Ontario, the timing for the Brampton project is excellent,” concluded Stefan. “Ontario’s Global Adjustment program is not going away anytime soon; this system was installed on budget and, more importantly, on time. With these systems, it’s important to be running and ready for summer peaks.”

The Kruger Energy battery storage system is finished and operating. It is an example of what a great team can accomplish and will provide value to the grid and the customer for years to come.

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