Developing Stronger Links

Summary Report of the Canadian Energy Storage Supply Chain Workshop: April 9, 2015

Energy storage is a field of intense international growth and competition, and Canada is acknowledged to have significant strengths in this area. While stakeholders of all types are eager to protect and grow the market share of Canadian companies they, at the same time, seek to ensure that Canadian markets provide a level playing field for the adoption of energy storage technologies, by keeping the costs of system operation and renewal down.

On April 9th 2015, thought leaders from across Canada’s energy storage supply chain met in Toronto to identify specific ways that Canada can play to its strengths in this field. During the “Developing Stronger Links in the Chain” workshop, convened by the National Research Council Canada (NRC) and MaRS, more than 150 participants sought ways that Canada can strengthen its position in the global energy storage technology market.

Together, the workshop participants determined that an ideal future involves a supply chain that collaborates to add value and provide solutions, not piecemeal parts. For the supply chain to function as an integrated value chain, participants recommended these areas of focus:

  • Develop a common vision – Participants wish to set a shared, long-term strategy for energy storage in Canada to get all parts of the supply chain working together. They feel it is important to support that vision with a common understanding of the energy storage markets, services, and products that clearly outline how the storage system interacts with the grid, and the values that it provides. As a vital component of the long-term vision, participants want a technology-agnostic energy storage roadmap for the entire Canadian market that includes a comprehensive analysis for Ontario and its early lead in the sector. This roadmap could be supported by describing valuable lessons learned from both early Canadian and international demonstrations.
  • Collaborate across the supply chain – While recognizing that the lowest cost solution is not always the one of the highest value, participants felt there were benefits in standardizing key aspects of storage components and systems related to interoperability, safety, and operations. It was recognized that this could enable lower costs, and stronger supply chains similar to other emerging technologies such as wind and solar. It was clear that members of the supply chain are eager for components and systems to work well together, but consideration needs to be given to allow unique solutions to be offered by market, based on technology, application, or geographic location. Several technical developments were identified that could support this, such as updated planning tools and sharing of demonstration project data.
  • Look beyond Canada’s borders – It was recognized that both the Ontario and Canadian markets provide early test beds for storage technologies, which can support local supply chains when competitive. However bolstering the Canadian supply chain’s export capability will become increasingly vital to success over the coming years. Value chain participants need to continue to focus on their particular product or service’s competitive advantage, and leverage the support of government or non-profit entities that have the ability to accept the capital risks of early stage technologies.

Read the complete report: Developing Stronger Links.

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