Green Town, N.S.

Photo: Equilibrium Engineering

Over 60% of the electricity consumed in Berwick, N.S., is renewable, sourced chiefly from community owned wind turbines and a hydroelectric dam. And now this Annapolis Valley town is pairing its renewables with the latest in lithium ion battery storage.

“Our early foray into the world of renewables has caught the imagination of our council,” says Berwick mayor Don Clarke, “and indeed many residents will tell you they enjoy living in a progressive, green town.”

Berwick has partnered with Equilibrium Engineering, a Nova Scotian energy services firm specializing in sustainable building design, and StorTera, a lithium ion battery manufacturer in Edinburgh, Scotland.

With $3 million in funding from Natural Resources Canada and the U.K.’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, this transatlantic partnership is installing lithium ion battery packs in 10 Berwick homes, each complemented by a rooftop solar array. Workers will also install two commercial sized battery packs for Berwick’s electrical utility.

“For these residential homes, we are putting in efficiency measures, moving them off burning oil and giving them sustainable alternatives,” says Gavin Park, founder and CEO of StorTera. “As well as generating their own solar, we can support the utility’s locally generated wind power by storing energy when it is windy. A preliminary estimate of the impact of these measures is that they will save between 60–90 tonnes of carbon dioxide, per year, just with the residential systems.”

These tonnes of carbon equate to the annual electrical demands of 10–15 American homes.

Berwick mayor Don Clarke

According to Jeremy Lutes, a partner with Equilibrium Engineering, this project will prove the value of the technology and build a local market for lithium ion batteries, the cost for which is expected to drop dramatically in the next decade.

“Our interest in renewable energy has led to an interest in the whole climate change discussion,” says Berwick mayor Don Clarke. “The overwhelming scientific evidence… points to the urgency for a change of attitude globally, and to a reduction in greenhouse gases. It seemed only natural for the Town of Berwick to take the initiative locally.”

This article was provided by Quest, a non-government organization working to accelerate the adoption of efficient and integrated community-scale energy systems in Canada.

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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