Helping You Harness Rewewable Energy

By Anna Guy

As one of Canada’s leading applied research centre for the renewable energy sector, Nergica helps Canadian SMEs create, implement, and augment their renewable energy opportunities. With more companies and communities looking to reduce their carbon emission (as well as keeping the Government of Canada’s objective of supplying 90 per cent of its electricity production from renewable and non-polluting sources by 2030), Nergica is ushering in a new energy era for communities and businesses.

Renewable Energy Integration

The services of Nergica’s research, technical assistance, technology transfer and technical support enables Canadian businesses and communities to develop solutions for renewable energy integration, optimizing wind farm and solar array performance to commercialize their renewable energy innovations. By partnering with Nergica, they are partnering with a fully-functioning renewable energy test site unique to anywhere in Canada, comprising a hybrid microgrid (wind-solar PV-diesel) and various energy storage technologies, and an expert team ready to take on the challenges and opportunities of the Canadian landscape. Wind power, solar power and renewable energy integration round out Nergica’s three pillars of expertise.

Formerly known as the TechnoCentre éolien, Nergica’s mission is “creating new opportunities for renewables,” according to Frédéric Côté, General Manager and a key figure in the development of the Quebec and Canadian wind power sectors. Located in Gaspe, QC, Nergica is a college centre for technology transfer (CCTT) and is affiliated with the Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles. The name change is reflective of the natural transition from a primarily wind power focus to a more exhaustive approach to energy transition, renewable electricity and its integration. “Nergica works in innovation to increase the role renewable play in the energy supply mix, and making sure Canada meets its energy transition targets.”

Nergica’s expertise and infrastructure is second-to-none in Canada. “We implemented a 4MW R&D windfarm in 2009,” says Côté, “the only one of its kind in Canada, complete with a 230kW microgrid that notably includes a 16 kW PV solar array and storage technologies. We apply this know-how to support businesses and communities striving to innovate in the realm of renewables.” The fully integrated system is specialized for the Canadian climate and complex terrain, “the context in which our
partners are operating their own wind or solar farms,” says Côté.

“As our clients evolved to solar microgrids and various applications, we have worked alongside them in applied research and technological transfer,” says Côté, adding Nergica is currently increasing activities in the microgrid sector—specifically to reduce reliance on diesel fuel and increase reliance on with renewables.

Full Suite of Services

But it’s not just testing: Nergica also offers state-of-the-art predictive and preventive maintenance, collection and analysis of operational data, instrumentation, remote detection and telemetry, performance enhancement, and solar panel service for life for clients.

“Our services cover all aspects of integrating these energy sources, from assessing the resource and boosting grid reliability to lowering costs and, of course, reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” says Côté.

“The number of projects we have worked on has continuously grown.” Nergica now employs over 30 full time team members, and has an operating budget of $5.5 million. “We also sell electricity as a private electricity producer. This especially helps our services because we understand our clients as we are facing the same challenges and reality as an operator.”

“Nergica excels in the field of wind farm optimization in cold climates and is a leading player in the research, validation and commercialization of innovations related to wind turbine inspection and O&M,” says Côté. “And with our full-scale outdoor research site, we bring together a broad diversity of players in the wind sector to develop solutions that will ultimately allow renewables to be better integrated into the energy portfolio of countries.” (One such solution is drone technology to inspect operational turbines provide accurate and efficient diagnostics that will help save time and money.)

The opening of the electricity market and the widespread use of new technologies have changed the power industry and the way businesses and municipalities operate. With a proven foundation in Eastern Canada, Nergica has set its sights on expansion into other provinces and the U.S. “The more exposure we can give to the renewables, the closer we all come to the common goal of reduced dependence on diesel, lower GHG emissions, and, ultimately, lower operating costs. We aim to make all these accomplishments easier and cost effective for our clients.”