By David Lao
A new Ryerson lab aims to study the distribution of power and conserve along the way.
The Schneider Electric Smart Grid (SESG) lab was unveiled March 4 at Ryerson’s Centre for Urban Energy (CUE).
Smart grids are electrical systems that use different energy methods and information from consumers to create more effi cient ways to conserve energy, and utilize different forms of it.
“The lab itself is a replica of a real [electrical] distribution system and typically what we did before was to use software to do the modeling for different scenarios,” said Jessie Ma, an electricity system operator and researcher. “But this is a typical replica, so now we can see all the impacts that the software program might not capture.”
The lab will be used by students, researchers and companies for a hands-on experience testing out new ideas and conducting research to modernize electricity systems and conserve energy.
“One of the motivations of having this lab is to enhance the educational opportunities for Ryerson students and to provide them with opportunities to work with industry,” said Ma. “It’s in a safe lab environment, so it’s less risky than going and doing it on a real system and much less expensive.”
The SESG is the fi rst universitybased smart grid laboratory in Canada.
The cost of the project was around $1 million – sponsored by Schneider Electric, the Ministry of Energy’s Smart Grid Fund and PowerStream.
PowerStream, a communityowned energy company that provides power to Central Ontario, will be the fi rst to utilize the SESG lab.
Ma says they will be using the lab to model one of their feeders or power lines under different conditions to see what it looks like.