Kentville’s Equilibrium Engineering Wins $1 Million Grand Prize

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Equilibrium Engineering and its project partners StorTera (Scotland, UK) and the Dalhousie University’s Renewable Storage Lab have won $1 million in the Canada-UK Power Forward Challenge for their work piloting clean energy storage units in the Town of Berwick, Nova Scotia.

The announcement took place on March 30 during the GLOBE Forum 2022 in Vancouver.

“Our government challenged innovators to find breakthrough clean-tech solutions to help solve some of Canada’s biggest problems—and they delivered,” said the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources Canada. “I’m proud to award the grand prize for the Power Forward Challenge to Equilibrium Engineering and their UK partner StorTera.”

The group created the Alba Nova project in 2019 after teaming up to respond to the Power Forward Challenge which was aimed at accelerating smart grid technology in a collaborative initiative between the Canadian and UK governments. They developed an intelligent energy system, partnered with the Town of Berwick, and held a lottery for Berwick residents interested in having a free residential storage system installed in their homes. Ten (10) household systems were installed in homes making them more energy-efficient, saving money, and being part of the Town of Berwick’s plan to provide value to Berwick Electric (the energy grid operator) through the uptake of renewable energy. In addition, two (2) commercial properties participated in the pilot; Town Hall and the Kings Mutual Century Centre, and they too saw benefits such as lower energy costs by managing their demand, increased resilience with onsite storage, and coordination of overall performance with Berwick Electric.

“This is a game-changer for our company. The pilot has been a big success and winning the $1 million grand prize means we can focus on scaling up,” says Will Marshall, President, Equilibrium Engineering, “We will continue to lead the low carbon energy transition movement in Nova Scotia through advanced energy storage.”

Through the Alba Nova project, Equilibrium Engineering (Canada) and StorTera (Scotland) are introducing a unique smart grid solution that integrates intelligent energy storage, energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, and demand side response to revolutionize the electric grid in the Town of Berwick, Nova Scotia, and beyond. The key innovation is the artificial intelligence (AI) platform that provides accurate forecasting, manages data, and provides real time control. The AI platform utilizes large data sets including battery cell performance and sophisticated algorithms that predict solar and wind energy generation and demand of customers for the day ahead.

The Alba Nova solution brings multiple stakeholders together and provides stacked benefits simultaneously, which addresses some of the key challenges in the wide-scale roll-out of smart grids. The team plans to roll this solution out to other utilities and market segments across Canada and the UK.