Enbridge’s Alternative & Emerging Technology Investments

Since 2000, Enbridge has been steadily increasing our investments in clean energy projects such as wind and solar. In just 12 years, our company’s renewable energy assets have grown from virtually nothing to more than $3 billion.

Morgan Solar's concentrating photovoltaic (PV) panels (Sun Simba)
Morgan Solar’s concentrating photovoltaic (PV) panels (Sun Simba), April 2012

The majority of our green energy investments are in wind and solar energy projects. However, we also invest in other technologies, projects and companies that will achieve returns similar to those realized by our oil and gas transportation and delivery operations, and that will contribute to a cleaner energy future.

Here’s an overview of the alternative and emerging energy projects, technologies and companies in which we have invested in so far:

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS):

Enbridge is a partner in Aquistore, one of the first Canadian projects to field-study the storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) in a deep saline aquifer. This Saskatchewan-based project aims to prove that deep saline aquifer storage of CO2 is a safe and effective solution for green house gas emission reductions, and to assess the costs associated with CCS. The results of the project will be made available to inform future CCS projects, and for government policy regulation and development.

Bitumen Extraction:

With Hatch Ltd. and N-Solv Corporation, Enbridge has invested in a bitumen extraction technology called N-Solv, which uses a solvent-based process to extract bitumen from in situ (“in place”) reserves. The process has the potential to reduce the CO2 emissions, capital costs and energy costs associated with other in situ processes such as steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD). The N-Solv process also produces a higher quality and more valuable bitumen.

Tank Leak Detection/Prevention:

In August 2012, Enbridge invested in Syscor, a company focused on commercializing wireless sensors for hydrocarbon storage tanks. Syscor’s wireless sensors are capable of detecting temperature, pressure, inclination and vapor, thereby mitigating the risks associated with tank failures.

Through our investment in Syscor, Enbridge is furthering our vision of being the safest operator of hydrocarbon facilities.

Marine Transportation of Compressed Natural Gas (Coselle Technology):

Enbridge has invested in a technology called "Coselle," a high-pressure gas storage module that provides safe storage for compressed natural gas on ships. Coselle is a blend of the words "coiled pipe in a carousel." Using ships that transport compressed natural gas, the technology will open up new markets for natural gas which are too small to justify liquefied natural gas infrastructure.  The Coselle technology has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by displacing the diesel currently used in many of these markets.   

Hybrid Fuel Cell:

The Direct FuelCell-Energy Recovery Generation power plant (DFC-ERG), was commissioned in 2008 as the result of a partnership between Enbridge and FuelCell Energy. It is the world’s first hybrid fuel cell power plant designed for gas utility pressure reduction stations, and the first multi-megawatt commercial fuel cell to operate in Canda. The plant converts unused pipeline energy, a by-product of distributing natural gas to customers, into ultra-clean electricity without burning any fuel. It produces 2.2 megawatts of environmentally preferred, ultra-clean electricity, which is enough power for approximately 1,700 residences.

Geothermal Energy:

In late 2012, the Neal Hot Springs Geothermal Project in which Enbridge has invested began generating about 23 megawatts of renewable geothermal electricity. The project is located in eastern Oregon, about 90 miles northwest of Boise. Geothermal energy is renewable energy from the heat of the earth’s core. Subsurface hot water is brought to the surface through production wells.  The heat from this water is utilized to run an organic rankine cycle generating electricity.  The water is then re-injected below the surface, where it is reheated for future use.

Run of River Hydro:

Enbridge has invested in the Wasdell Falls Run of River Hydro Project with Coastal Hydropower Corporation. The project, which is located about an hour north of Toronto on Ontario’s Severn River, will generate 1.65 MW of hydroelectricity using highly efficient very low head (VLH) turbines. VLH turbines are designed to create lower impact installations as they require less infrastructure than traditional run of river projects.

Waste Heat Recovery:

Enbridge’s interests in waste heat generation are through the Enbridge Income Fund, which owns 50 per cent of NRGreen Power Limited Partnership (NRGreen). Under a 20-year power agreement with SaskPower, NRGreen has constructed four waste heat power generation units along the Alliance Pipeline in Saskatchewan. A fifth station is also being built at Alliance’s Windfall compressor station near Whitecourt, Alberta. Heat is a by-product of the process used to compress natural gas such that it can be transported through pipelines for consumer use.  Rather than allowing the heat exhaust to escape into the atmosphere, waste heat recovery units convert it into emissions-free electricity by using it to heat and condense fluids that drive turbines. The resulting electricity is then fed to the electricity grid.

Genalta Power Inc.:

In 2012, Enbridge invested in Genalta Power, a privately held Canadian corporation that owns and operates independent power plants that produce and sell environmentally friendly electricity generated from waste energy sources. Genalta works with site owners to provide base load green energy; increased plant efficiencies; operating cost reductions; greenhouse credits and emission reductions, and long term sustainable energy. Genalta also capitalizes on opportunities in the independent power market by developing dependable, cost-effective and environmentally responsible power generation facilities.

Morgan Solar:

In 2011, Enbridge invested in next-generation solar technology through a $9.8 million investment in Morgan Solar, a Canadian start-up. The investment is intended to help Morgan Solar commercialize a new line of concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) panels, which use plastic lenses to boost solar cells’ power output. This technology provides an innovative means of generating solar power more efficiently, less costly and with lower environmental footprint.

Hydrogenics:

In 2012, Enbridge entered into a partnership with Hydrogenics Corp. to develop large-scale electricity storage. The two companies will jointly develop a 1-megawatt, power- to-gas energy storage project in Ontario to prove the technology at a utility scale. Hydrogenics’ water electrolysis technology will convert surplus renewable energy into hydrogen gas, and Enbridge’s expertise in the ownership and operation of natural gas pipelines will enable the partnership to offer seasonal electricity storage capability to the electricity sector.   The technology could be particularly advantageous in markets with large amounts of renewable energy from intermittent sources such as wind. By converting the electricity to gas and storing it in the vast natural gas pipeline networks, more renewable energy can be stored for long periods, increasing the amount of clean energy that is available for consumers.

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