Alectra Utilities
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Alectra Utilities, Schneider Electric DERMS Helping Canada to Charge Ahead on EVs

Jan. 25, 2018
Schneider Electric to provide Ontario-based Alectra Utilities Distributed Energy Resource Management System for EV-friendly grid

Canada has some big EV-related goals. Canada's Energy Innovation Program (EIP) has received $46.1 million in funding over 2 years to support the demonstration of next-generation electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in Canada.

Scope of work for the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Demonstration component includes the so-called Front End Engineering Design (or FEED) studies and demonstrations to reduce the costs, along with steps to better understand the impacts and address potential hurdles for the deployment of next-generation charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

A key utility involved with this effort in Ontario also has big goals--Alectra Utilities.  The goal of its Alectra Drive for the Workplace is to demonstrate the value of a smart electric vehicle (EV) charging system that manages the flow of electricity needed to serve the building and EV charging stations, so that electricity costs are minimized while EV drivers have an easy and accessible charging solution. This program aims to encourage the adoption of EV technology while helping businesses to manage their energy costs.

Alectra, and the City of Markham, are supporting provincial EV goals with innovative charging stations. Their two-year pilot program assesses the impact of daytime electric vehicle (EV) charging at workplaces on Ontario's electricity grid.

The initiative involves the use of 16 Level 2 EV charging stations, 10 outdoor and six indoor for program participants only, plus one Level 2 charging station for public use.

By making EV charging stations more accessible, the Alectra Drive for the Workplace program will help reduce battery range anxiety for participating drivers, and help increase EV sales, in support of a goal of having EV's achieve market penetration of five percent of all new passenger vehicles sold by 2020.

Schneider Electric DERMS playing key role

A unique feature of the Alectra Drive for the Workplace project is the Distributed Energy Resources Management System (DERMS) provided by Schneider Electric, which will optimize distribution system dispatch for the project, including minimizing electricity demand for a key facility for the effort, the Markham Civic Center, by managing the EV charging stations during peak hours while providing adequate charge to the electric vehicles. The DERMS will collect real-time data to optimize electricity loads to the EVs and building service equipment.

"We are excited about launching the Alectra Drive for the Workplace program at the Markham Civic Center," said Brian Bentz, President and CEO, Alectra Inc. "Our business customers are seeking simple solutions to implement workplace EV charging systems that manage electricity demand and energy costs, while providing their employees with the technologies they need to confidently drive their EVs to and from work."

"We are proud that the Markham Civic Centre was selected as one of the locations to execute this important EV charging pilot program in Alectra Utilities' service territory," said Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, who is a member of the Alectra Board of Directors. "The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions aligns with the Greenprint, Markham's Community Sustainability Plan, which targets net zero energy, water, waste and emissions by 2050."

"Canadians made it clear through our national energy dialogue, Generation Energy, that the move to electric vehicles and lower-carbon fossil fuel alternatives is necessary for the transition to a low-carbon economy," said Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, the Honorable Jim Carr. "This pilot program will make it easier for people to drive clean and will gather valuable data that can help bring us closer to a low-carbon transportation future."

"As the use of EVs becomes more common in Ontario, the increased load from vehicle charging will need to be managed in order to reduce costs to building owners and utilities," said Terry Young, Vice-President, Policy, Engagement and Innovation, Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). "Understanding the impact of daytime EV charging at workplaces will help us to manage peak demand on the provincial electricity grid and reduce future electricity infrastructure investments."

The Alectra Drive for the Workplace pilot program is being funded by the IESO Conservation Fund as well as by Natural Resources Canada who provided funding through its Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Demonstrations component of the Energy Innovation program. Alectra Utilities and its partners will fund the balance of the program through a combination of funding and in-kind services and products. The charging stations will be powered by Aviva Canada, who has generously covered the cost of electricity. Other corporate partners supporting the program include Schneider Electric, FleetCarma, Util-Assist, Robertson Bright, Plug'n Drive, Eguana Technologies, and FLO.

For more information about Alectra Drive for the Workplace, please visit

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