Ontario Boosting Its Electricity Grid with Hydrogen

The Ontario government is investing $5.9 million in nine new projects that will integrate hydrogen into the province’s electricity grid. This funding is through the Hydrogen Innovation Fund which supports projects that pave the way for the production of reliable, affordable and clean electricity from hydrogen to help power the province’s growth.

“Our government is building new electricity generation and storage to power the next major international investment, the new homes we are building and industries as they grow and electrify,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. “Natural gas currently performs a critical role keeping the lights on during periods of peak demand, and we are investing now in new technologies like hydrogen that could help meet this demand going forward.”

As part of today’s funding, Atura Power is receiving $4.1 million to blend hydrogen with natural gas to produce electricity at Halton Hills Generating Station (HHGS) making it the largest electricity-based, grid-connected, low-carbon hydrogen blending project in Canada’s history. The Niagara Hydrogen Centre will utilize excess water that would otherwise have been spilled over Niagara Falls to create clean electricity that will be used to produce clean hydrogen for the project.

The eight other projects receiving funding include:

  • Capital Power is receiving $206,300 to study the feasibility of blending hydrogen with natural gas (between 5 per cent to 15 per cent hydrogen) at their existing Brampton, Windsor and Newmarket generation facilities.
  • Capital Power is also receiving $150,000 to study the feasibility of producing and storing low-carbon hydrogen, produced from wind generation, to fuel a hybrid hydrogen-methane turbine at their Goderich location.
  • HydroMéga Services in Cochrane is receiving $100,000 to study the feasibility of upgrading an existing 27-megawatt natural gas facility to include renewable generation, low-carbon hydrogen production and storage.
  • York University is receiving $38,000 to study the feasibility of retrofitting existing gas turbine generators to blend hydrogen with natural gas to generate electricity.
  • York University is also receiving $90,000 to model and analyse the potential of installing low-carbon hydrogen facilities across Ontario, including costs and sizing.
  • Western University is receiving $498,000 to develop a demonstration site, which will test solar-generated hydrogen and biogas-generated hydrogen to assess the environmental benefits of each.
  • Volta Energy in Toronto is receiving $491,352 to assess how reversible solid oxide hydrogen cells technology can help provide a pathway for hydrogen integration into the electricity grid.
  • The Transition Accelerator in Hamilton is receiving $101,205 to research the economic readiness of the Hamilton region to become a hub for hydrogen investment.

“Today’s announcement builds upon our government’s low-carbon hydrogen strategy – a plan that diversifies our energy supply to keep energy costs down while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Andrea Khanjin, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “By investing in these innovative clean energy projects, Ontario is supporting economic growth and securing environmental benefits for future generations.”

“Decarbonizing Ontario’s electricity system and economy will require contributions from new and emerging resources,” said Lesley Gallinger, President and CEO of the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). “The IESO is looking forward to tracking the results of the Hydrogen Innovation Fund projects to determine hydrogen’s viability as a grid resource to support reliability, affordability and sustainability.”

As part of the province’s Low-Carbon Hydrogen Strategy, Ontario established the Hydrogen Innovation Fund in February 2023 which will invest $15 million over the next three years to kickstart and develop opportunities for hydrogen to be integrated into Ontario’s clean electricity system, including hydrogen electricity storage.

Ontario Government

One comment

  1. I am confused about how the use of hydrogen is going to benefit our province. It may reduce our carbon footprint, but the use of hydrogen creates other problems. Upon reading about hydrogen, several articles stressed that hydrogen production is a very dirty process. One piece stated that the annual global production of hydrogen produces more climate pollution than the entire country of Germany. Hydrogen storage is an issue, including the need for extremely strong storage tanks, due to the highly explosive nature of hydrogen gas. Does anyone recall the Hindenburg? In a bid to rush headlong into a carbon free environment, and similar to the progressives’ approach to automotive electrification, a move that many may come to regret, perhaps much more research should be completed before this possible hydrogen boondoggle is brought to fruition. Ideas are a great thing, but all ideas are not good ideas, especially when the government is involved. Just remember who actually picks up the tab if things don’t go as planned.