2013 Energy Projects ― Co-winner 2
City of Summerside, Prince Edward Island
Wind Farm and Smart Grid Pilot Program
Project duration: 2009‒ongoing
Total project value: $30 million ($28.4 million on wind farm; $1.6 million on smart grid pilot project)
The City of Summerside set up a 12-megawatt wind farm in 2009. Two years later, the city created the innovative Smart Grid Pilot Program to make better local use of the farm's wind energy.
The smart grid system uses communications and metering technology. This technology detects excess wind energy in the system and turns on devices in residences and industrial or commercial buildings to store it. The excess energy is used for heating or hot water as needed. The system's programming can be changed as variables and priorities change. The city's Heat for Less Now Program offers electricity at a lower cost to customers who install the system.
The pilot project showed that the technology can be integrated into the existing system to manage wind resources, reduce GHG emissions from the decreased use of furnace oil, and save money for both the customer and the utility.
The projects received support from FCM's Green Municipal Fund (GMF 9043 and GMF 10394).
- Developing and integrating the smart grid software into the utility took more time than anticipated.
- Using in-house staff meant that workloads had to be reorganized to make time for the project.
- Some decision-makers initially doubted the need for a new communications system as part of the smart grid project.
- Inform residents about the new technology and work on getting their support long before field testing. More information means greater participation.
- Use outside contractors so that work can proceed efficiently without drawing in-house staff away from their existing work.
- Hire a full-time information technology consultant to support technology integration.
- Get council support well in advance so that key decision-makers are comfortable with the project and there are no delays.
Partners and collaboration
- FCM's Green Municipal Fund
- City of Summerside Electric Utility
- City of Summerside Financial Services Department
- City of Summerside Wind Farm Environmental Assessment
- PEI Office of Energy Efficiency
- Curran and Briggs
- Prestige Telecom
- Dalhousie Energy Research Group
- Fourward Communications
- Summerside Community Network