FortisAlberta is installing a solar array and storage battery in Waterton Lakes National Park to improve the reliability of the local power supply. There is only one 70-kilometre-long distribution line feeding the area and connecting Waterton to the grid. If there is an interruption to the electricity on this line, such as if a tree falls, there is no other source of backup power.

The FortisAlberta Waterton Energy Storage Project will showcase the technical, economic and social benefits of a battery energy storage system (BESS), solar photovoltaic (PV) renewable generation and advanced distribution control systems. The systems create a ‘microgrid’ to provide reliable electrical power to the Waterton townsite and Parks Canada compound during outages.

Project details

  • This project is the first of its kind in Alberta. It is located in the northwest corner of the Parks Canada operations compound.
  • Project funding has been provided by Natural Resources Canada’s Smart Grid Program, Alberta Innovates, Emissions Reduction Alberta, FortisAlberta, and Opus One Solutions.
  • FortisAlberta is installing the array and battery system.
  • Parks Canada will own and operate the completed solar system. FortisAlberta will own and operate the battery system and control system.
  • The system will enable Waterton townsite to maintain power during an outage.
  • The microgrid will considerably improve reliability to the townsite, seamlessly transferring between grid and battery supply during most system disturbances so there is no supply disruption.

Environmental benefits by the numbers

  • The solar array will generate approximately 346 kWh of electricity
  • The battery capacity is 5.2MWh
  • The array will power the Parks Canada compound, reducing Parks Canada’s overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Waterton Lakes by 25 percent.
  • The project’s annual GHG offset is approximately 197.3 tCO2e per year*. This is equivalent to GHG emissions from 43 passenger vehicles in one year based on average driving.

*Note that there are six main greenhouse gases – tCO2e, or tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, is the standard unit for counting GHF emissions regardless of type