SUMMERSIDE – The Canadian Federation of Municipalities honoured the City of Summerside Thursday, for its energy initiatives at the 2013 Sustainable Communities Awards in Windsor, Ontario.
The city received the award for its wind farm and Smart Grid Meter Pilot Program.
“I was very pleased to hear about the award,” said Coun. Frank Costa, chairman of the city’s electric committee. “I was pleased for the city, particularly Greg (Gaudet, director of municipal services), our former Chief Financial Officer Malcolm Millar and our former Chief Administrative Officer Terry Murphy. They and the former council, when they looked at how do we enhance the electric infrastructure in the city in our generating capacity? They looked at putting up windmills and it has had a real benefit for the city.”
Costa said the work of city staff and elected officials hasn’t gone unnoticed by other municipalities.
“The neat thing about this award is we’re being recognized by our peers – other municipalities,” he said. “The award was based on industry standards that they saw the windmills and the Heat for Less Program as pretty strong initiatives that meet industry standards. People worked hard to get that so they’re being recognized.”
Along with being environmentally friendly, the program helps control power costs.
“There’s no question that the windmills have helped the city generate power which has been a cost-savings to the city for not having to buy power,” Costa said. “Our residents benefit from that. The Heat for Less Program has benefits.”
All members of council support the Smart Grid Program but there has been debate over who should actually be handling the fibre optics involved.
“I think the only difference of opinion in the council is whether it should be looked at by the private sector,” Costa said. “It is a good program but it’s whether we should be into it It’s who should be delivering. It’s that sense of private versus public, ownership and delivery.”
Costa said there is no question the windmills enhance the generating capacity of the city. “It’s a green energy. We’re fortunate that we own the electric company. So, people look at how do we enhance that capacity and the windmills have been fantastic for that.
“I think a lot of the other municipalities are looking at ‘how do we do that?’ but they may not have an infrastructure to work from,” he said.