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Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has selected three new suppliers of regulation service, a grid-balancing function traditionally provided by generators.

By helping to correct small, sudden changes in power-system frequency, grid regulation balances power flows and maintains the reliability of the power system. This quick response is becoming increasingly important to facilitate more intermittent renewable energy resources like wind and solar, whose output is variable in nature.

"Real-time, real-world experience with new sources of regulation will allow us to see how nontraditional resources behave," says Paul Murphy, president and CEO at the IESO. "Engaging and empowering new participants will provide much-needed flexibility in the way we run the power system, which is important in the context of our changing supply mix."

Through a request for proposals (RFP) issued earlier this year, the IESO sought to procure up to 10 MW of regulation from alternative sources such as dispatchable loads, aggregated demand response and storage technologies, including batteries and flywheels. To allow the IESO to acquire experience with a range of technologies, the RFP sought proposals from multiple vendors, each providing a small quantity of regulation.

The IESO has now entered contract negotiations with the three suppliers: ENBALA Power Networks Inc., a provider of demand-side management solutions; NRStor Inc., an energy-storage provider; and Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc., a developer of wind, solar, storage and transmission projects.

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