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Countering outages with batteries in NS

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar12,2024

Counteract breakdowns with N.-É batteries.

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Nova Scotia Power corporate headquarters in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Radio- Canada

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Nova Scotia Power is giving itself a another year to decide whether it will expand its pilot project which installed electric storage batteries in 125 homes in the province.

It's x27;is already a success for Tom MacPherson. I'm extremely happy with it, says the 87-year-old.

For him, having three days of power in case of an outage is worth the $35 a month he pays for the 18-year-old battery .6 kilowatt hours installed at his home.

At my age, I don't want to go out in the middle of a storm and hang out a gasoline generator to the house, plug it in and have to feed it with gasoline, he explains.

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Tom MacPherson says having three days of power in case of an outage worth the $35 a month he pays for the battery.

The $4,200 you pay for the battery is about a third of what it would cost to hire a general contractor and have a generator installed permanently.

So it was a very good deal for me, especially since you can then pay over 10 years, without interest, he says. So I thought, well, this is for me!

Tom MacPherson lives in Little Harbour, Pictou County, on the Northumberland Strait.

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The wall batteries in its garage are monitored remotely by Nova Scotia Power in Halifax, which makes sure they are loaded.

Before a storm I get an email that says we are recharging your batteries because a storm is coming so the batteries are recharged and when the power goes out the batteries automatically turn back on and they usually last about three days, he said.

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A Sunverge Infinity battery system was installed in Tom McPherson's garage as part of Nova Scotia Power's smart grid program.

He adds that the few times there was a power outage, the batteries kicked in automatically, and had enough resources for the essentials, like the water pump, refrigerator , lights, heating and air conditioning and even television.

During post-tropical storm Fiona in September 2022, the supply lasted three days. He went two more days without power, but he thinks he would eventually run out of gas to power a generator.

The smart grid program also includes separate initiatives for electric vehicle charging and community solar gardens.

The company began recruiting for the battery storage pilot in November 2020 and 500 people applied.

Owners like Tom MacPherson will own the battery after 10 years.

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Ed Cullinan is Senior Director of Residential Electrification at Nova Scotia Power.

In the meantime, the batteries belong to Nova Scotia Power. The company controls when they are recharged, usually at off-peak times or when excess clean energy is available.

The company can also use it for its own use.

We understand that this battery is available to the customer to provide backup power. But the rest of the time, when we don't suspect there might be problems, we can use the energy stored in that battery to run the grid, says Ed Cullinan, senior director of the ;residential electrification from Nova Scotia Power.

We can use it to operate more economically or to store renewable energy for use later when the sun doesn't shine or the wind doesn't blow, he says.

Even though Tom MacPherson is a satisfied customer and the system works, Nova Scotia Power is not convinced it will be popular, because installing this type of battery can cost between $12,000 and $14,000.

I think for the average homeowner the cost needs to come down significantly for programs like this These are continuing, says Ed Cullinan.

He says the company is giving itself the next year to decide.

With information from Paul Withers of CBC

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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