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Electric-gas turbine hybrid begins powering Calgary

Enmax's Crossfield Energy Centre with a hybrid electric gas turbine in an undated photo. Enmax/YouTube

Enmax is rolling out Canada’s first hybrid turbine at its Crossfield, Alta., generator site to help power the city of Calgary.

The electric-gas hybrid combines one of the three natural gas-powered turbines at the Crossfield Energy Centre with an industrial battery system from GE Renewable Energy. The hybrid turbine came online in May, a company spokesperson said.

Read more: ‘Enmax is the laggard’: Calgary climate advocates push for net-zero plan

“Through advancements like Canada’s first hybrid electric gas turbine, we continue to take a leadership role in building Alberta’s lower carbon future,” Lonnie Enns, Enmax senior vice-president, said in a statement.

“We believe battery storage will play an increasingly important role in providing safe, clean and reliable energy to Albertans, and the hybrid technology deployed at Crossfield can serve as a model for other natural gas facilities across Canada.”

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The move comes as part of Enmax’s recently-announced target to be net-zero by 2050.

Read more: Calgary changing Green Line procurement for ‘cost certainty’

The $14.6-million project recently completed by the City of Calgary-owned utility got half its funding from the Emissions Reduction Alberta as part of its Industrial Efficiency Challenge.

“The Government of Alberta knows that technology can help industry reduce emissions and operating costs,” Minister of Environment and Parks Jason Nixon said in a statement.

“That’s why funding was delivered through Emissions Reduction Alberta for first-of-its-kind demonstrations and deployment to bring ground-breaking solutions for real emissions reductions to our industry.”

The hybridization of the gas turbine is expected to save 45,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to about 10,000 cars.

Like a hybrid car, the hybrid turbine will be able to spin down its gas portion during low-demand periods instead of running at an idle. When demand picks up, the 10 MW/4.3 MWh lithium-ion battery will be able to feed power into the grid while the gas turbine spins up.

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“The idea of starting to use utility-grade storage solutions like hybrid batteries allows us to bring more renewables into the system, it allows us to be able to provide effective and reliable electricity and it’s cutting edge,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said.

“Calgary should be the centre of the clean energy revolution and I’m thrilled that Enmax is the first in Canada to implement this kind of technology.”

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