Electrical Power

Electrical Power

Electrical Power

Interconnections with the Grid

The ability to tie into the regional transmission grid and the ability of that grid to physically support the power demand of the Project are both critical to the Project’s success. IEPS intends to work closely with the regional power transmission system owner and with the Alberta Electrical System Operator (AESO) to determine the optimum approach to providing power to the Project.

The regional electrical transmission system is well developed within southern Alberta and is located within a few km of the current proposed site. IEPS intends to initiate the AESO interconnection application process immediately upon completing initial financing (see: https://www.aeso.ca/grid/connecting-to-the-grid) to reduce the risk of delays in start-up.

Power Costs

The ability to purchase adequate amounts of electrical power at an acceptable price is also critical to the success of the Project. IEPS has developed a power acquisition strategy that takes full advantage of Alberta’s unique competitive generation market and the operational flexibility of PEM electrolyzers, purchasing power during off-peak periods at much lower than average prices. This approach will ensure that electrical power can be purchased at very competitive rates.

Managing CO2 Emissions from Power Generation

Because unlike the case with steam reformation of methane, the water feedstock for the electrolysis process contains no carbon, on a life-cycle basis the CO2 emissions associated with the production of the electrical power needed to drive the process are by far the largest potential source of carbon emissions from the Project. Since different power production techniques (e.g. renewable vs. non-renewable) all have different carbon emissions profiles, the eventual CO2 emission levels associated with the electrolytic conversion of water to H2 and O2 can be controlled through the type and proportion of electrical power used in the process.

The Alberta Integrated Electrical System (AIES) contains electrical power from a number of sources, including gas-fired power, hydroelectric power, photovoltaic (solar) power and wind power. Recent data from the AESO indicates that the AIES already contains a significant proportion of renewable power relative to power from hydrocarbon-based sources. The AESO predicts that the proportion of renewable content will also continue to grow materially over time.

In Alberta, power is bid into the system by numerous generators on an hourly basis and dispatched hourly by the AESO based on several factors, including price. While it is possible to assess price in advance of each hour, and to decide whether to acquire that power (or not) it is not possible to predict the mix of power delivered to the system during that hour. However it is possible to assess, after the fact, the relative proportion of renewable and non-renewable power within each hour.

As a result, IEPS will be able to establish the carbon footprint (i.e. proportion of renewable to non-renewable power) associated with each hour of electrical power it decides to acquire from the AIES. Those data will then be used to assess to what extent further “greening” of the acquired power is needed to meet customer carbon emission expectations. Options to offset the emissions from the non-renewable portion of each hour include the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and the creation of PPAs with renewable power producers.

Two approaches may be used to further increase the portion of renewable power.

Electrical Power
Credit: Green Energy Futures