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2013 Energy Projects ― Co-winner 2

City of Summerside, Prince Edward Island

Wind Farm and Smart Grid Pilot Program

Population: 14,751
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).





  • Wind farm supplies 27% of Summerside's energy
  • 42% reduction in GHG emissions for each participating customer
  • Each residential customer saves $1,000 annually
  • Electrical utility saves $40-90 per consumer per year
  • Summerside is seen as a green community, with a total of 50% wind energy
  • The city opted to make the best local use of wind energy, rather than exporting power outside the community


  • 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. 

Lessons learned 

  • 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


Page Updated: 27/04/2018