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Smart grid lab opening generates headlines

The Schneider Electric Smart Grid Laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility at CUE that opened this month
By: Deborah Hernandez
March 24, 2015

Left to right: Schneider Electric vice president Léonce Fraser; Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli; Ryerson president Sheldon Levy.

The Schneider Electric Smart Grid Laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility that will allow researchers, engineers and students to develop the future of smart grid technologies.

The lab was officially opened this month at the Centre of Urban Energy by Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli, Ryerson president Sheldon Levy and Schneider Electric vice president Léonce Fraser. Tons of industry partners and reporters were there to witness its unveiling. Publications like Electric Business Magazine, external link, The Ryersonian, external link, Ryerson Today, SmartMeters, external link and Yahoo, external link all provided coverage on the event.

“The electricity sector is on the cusp of a transformation, and the Schneider Electric Smart Grid Lab puts Ryerson at the forefront of these exciting changes,” said Jessie Ma, a research fellow at CUE.  “It offers Ryerson's students an unrivaled educational facility. They’ll be prepared to tackle the most pressing challenges in the electricity sector.”

Bob Singh, also a research fellow at CUE, was on hand to demonstrate some of the lab's wide-ranging capabilities. He said the smart grid lab provides a replica of a real electrical distribution system.

This means product manufacturers as well as electrical utilities can test the effectiveness of new technologies under different scenarios for a fraction of what it would cost if these tests were done on an actual system. 

The project began less than a year ago, in June 2014. It was built in partnership with Ryerson University and Schneider Electric and was funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Energy, external link’s smart grid fund.

Timelapse: Watch the Centre for Urban Energy's Schneider Electric Smart Grid Laboratory come to life.

Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli, spoke to the audience about the importance of smarter electricity grids for the province’s larger energy plan and said that the smart grid enables us to do things that would have been impossible 10 years ago.

“We are setting the stage for innovations that will be the backbone for our energy system for future generations,” Chiarelli said. 

PowerStream, a community-owned energy company, will be the first utility to use the lab to test their system. Brian Bentz, CEO and president says they’re a leader in smart grid technologies because of the work they do with partners like Ryerson and Schneider Electric.

Check out this PDF fileinformational booklet that goes in-depth about the smart grid lab’s technical wizardry.

Deborah Hernandez is a fourth-year Journalism student at Ryerson University.

"We are setting the stage for innovations that will be the backbone for our energy system for future generations."