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  • Monday, November 26, 2012


    Smart Grid Project Helps Keep Surplus Wind Power Local

    Joseph Bebon, 18 November 2012 (Renew Grid)

    “…The small city of Summerside, located on Canada's Prince Edward Island…decided [in 2003] to build and own…the Summerside Wind Farm…[T]he 12 MW project was commissioned in 2009…[T]he taxpayers own the wind farm and sell the power to the municipal utility, Summerside Electric…Summerside Electric purchases another 9 MW of wind power from West Cape Energy…[The two] sources give the utility 50% wind integration.

    “But there is a problem: Summerside Electric has a peak load of 23 MW, a minimum load of 11 MW and an average load of 18 MW. With a wind capacity of 21 MW, the utility often has to sell surplus wind power to entities outside the city’s borders…[The city believes] the utility and community [should] have a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to power needs…Summerside Electric has to export about 7.5 million KWh of excess wind power every year, and the municipal government wants to keep the energy within its borders….[That] is where Summerside’s smart grid project came in….”

    “In August 2011, the city council voted to use the C$1.5 million that was leftover…[to develop] the Heat For Less Now program: an initiative to install advanced electric heating units, as well as supportive smart grid solutions, at residents’ homes. By [offering the electricity used by the heating appliances at C$0.08/KWh - meaning that for every kilowatt-hour sold, the utility receives four extra cents and customers receive a four-cent rebate from what their existing electrical rates are, it incentivized] residents to heat their houses and water using electricity rather than oil or gas]…

    “…[I]t took about six months to get one-tenth of the community fiber-wired and a year and a half to get the Heat program off the ground. The beta pilot phase…has only installed 103 electric thermal storage units on 54 premises and 115 smart meters on 56 premises thus far…[T]he goal is to get electric heaters to 500 homes and then call it a proven beta system. Right now, 90% of Summerside Electric’s customers still use sources other than electricity to heat their homes and hot water…[T]he city plans to eventually expand its wind farm and become an even greener community…[to make] the Heat program…successful in the long run…”


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