Hydro sets out to conquer the energy storage systems market

Hydro sets out to conquer the energy storage systems market

After years of development, Hydro-Québec is launching into the marketing of new energy storage systems and confirms that it has been awarded a first contract with Innergex, in France.

To do this, the Crown corporation announces the creation of Evlo, a new subsidiary whose mandate will consist in designing, selling and operating the storage systems developed by its teams at the Hydro-Quebec Research Institute (IREQ ).

The subsidiary already employs around sixty people in Varennes.

If things go as planned, Evlo is expected to have to further increase its staff by around 50 people “within 5 to 10 years”.

“We believe that our know-how in the field of batteries will allow us to benefit from the current development of solar and wind energy, everywhere on the planet”, confided in an interview the chief of innovation of Hydro-Quebec and president of ‘Hydro-Québec Production, David Murray.

A US $ 3 billion market

Storage systems are primarily intended for producers, transporters and distributors of electricity, such as Hydro or Boralex, for example. Concretely, they allow them to store the energy produced during off-peak periods in order to redeploy it during peak periods.

These systems can also make it possible to compensate for the intermittent input from wind or solar power plants. When the production of these power stations is declining, its batteries make it possible to compensate in order to ensure a constant supply of energy.

This rapidly expanding global market is valued at US $ 3 billion. Industry giants, such as General Electric, Siemens (through Fluence) and even Tesla, are already occupying the market.

“Within 10 years, our goal is for Evlo to capture 10% of this global market,” said Murray. If it succeeds, the Hydro subsidiary would then derive some US $ 300 million (CA $ 384 million) annually from these activities.

The new subsidiary will make its debut as part of the Tonnerre project in France, won by Innergex. This project provides for the commissioning in 2021 of a 9 megawatt-hour storage system.

Safe from overheating

Evlo believes itself to stand out from the competition with battery systems that it describes as more “safe, efficient and environmentally friendly”.

In addition, its Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries are said to be safer than traditional lithium-ion batteries – which tend to overheat – due to a distinct molecular structure that would protect them from the risk of “thermal runaway”.

Systems energy storage:

Global market :

US $ 3 billion / year

Evlo’s objective:

10% of this market

Where Evlo’s systems have been tested:

  • Hemmingford, Montérégie
  • Quaqtaq, Nord-du-Quebec

In next deployment:

  • Lac-Mégantic, Eastern Townships
  • La Prairie, Montérégie
  • Tonnerre, France

Source: Hydro-Quebec

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