Union Gas supports University of Waterloo research to expand smart grid into 'smart energy network'

$10,000 grant awarded to Sustainability Institute as part of Centennial celebration

WATERLOO, ON, Sept. 15, 2011 /CNW/ - A University of Waterloo research project looking to expand the concept of a "smart grid" beyond electricity is getting a boost from Union Gas through a $10,000 grant that is part of the company's year-long Centennial celebration.

The research project, led by the University's Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE), focuses on the idea of using advanced information technology to create a fully integrated "smart energy network", one that includes natural gas, renewables and, in the future, would be able to incorporate new fuels such as hydrogen.

The project is building on work already underway in Ontario to develop a smart grid for the province's electricity system, using digital two-way communication to allow utilities to respond instantly to changes in demand and automatically fix power outages, as well as giving consumers more control over how and when they use power. The award is one of ten $10,000 signature grants being awarded by Union Gas across Ontario as the company marks its 100th anniversary.

"At Union Gas, we are committed to being strong stewards of our environment," said Union Gas president Julie Dill. "That's why we are proud to support this leading-edge research, which will further the discussion we are having as an energy sector about the long-term sustainability of Ontario's entire energy system. We all have a part to play in building a stronger system that is mindful of the environment at the same time."

"In the electricity sector, the smart grid has emerged as one way to address consumption trends, climate change, global energy security challenges, and economic growth," said Jatin Nathwani, executive director of WISE. "This grant will help WISE apply core smart grid concepts to the entire energy system to help make it more integrated and responsive."

Union Gas, a Spectra Energy Company, was founded in 1911 through the amalgamation of three southern Ontario local gas distribution companies. Today, Union Gas, named one of Canada's Top 100 employers of 2011, is the second largest natural gas utility in Canada, serving 1.3 million customers across Ontario.

Union Gas works in over 400 Ontario communities, including many in the Waterloo region. The company is committed to contributing to the communities where its employees live and work by supporting direct and indirect employment, offering energy efficiency programs, and helping local organizations through sponsorships, charitable giving and hundreds of volunteer hours. For example, in the Waterloo region, Union Gas supports organizations such as the Waterloo Region Children's Safety Village, the United Way of Kitchener-Waterloo, Out of the Cold and the Children's Wish Foundation.

Leading up to the company's 100th anniversary on Dec. 19, a year-long Centennial celebration is rolling out across the province, bringing together employees, retirees and community residents. Visit uniongas.com/centennial for more information.

About Union Gas

Union Gas Limited, a Spectra Energy (NYSE: SE) company, is a major Canadian natural gas storage, transmission and distribution company based in Ontario with assets of over $5.6 billion and approximately 2,200 employees. For more information, visit uniongas.com.

About the University of Waterloo

The University of Waterloo, in the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle, is one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities. Waterloo is home to 30,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students who are dedicated to making the future better and brighter. Waterloo, known for the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program, supports enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. For more information, visit www.uwaterloo.ca.

SOURCE Union Gas Limited

For further information:

Andrea Stass
Manager, Public Affairs and Media Relations Union Gas Limited
Ph: 519 436-5490 or 1-800-571-8446 ext. 5490
Cell: 519 365-1010
Fax: 519 436-4621
Email: astass@uniongas.com 

Tracey Forrest
Director, Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy
Ph: 519 888 4567 ext 38759
Cell: 519 500 5217
Fax: 519 888 4359
Email: tforrest@uwaterloo.ca


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