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Smarter grid for Summerside: Artificial intelligence shaving costs for utility

Greg Gaudet explains how the solar array powers Credit Union Place.
Greg Gaudet explains how the solar array powers Credit Union Place. - Alison Jenkins
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. —

Artificial intelligence algorithms could save the City of Summerside over $10,000 per month, according to staffers from the municipality.

Recently, Summerside Electric partnered with BluWave-ai, an Ontario-based company, to make the city electrical grid more efficient.

“They wanted to see if we needed to enhance some smarts of the smart grid,” said Greg Gaudet, Director of Municipal Services.

BluWave-ai thinks they can improve on the city’s systems to balance the power load on the utility.

Turns out, they probably can.

The company studied historic data from the utility and estimates it can cut costs by four to six per cent.


Summerside Electric by the numbers:

  • 43 per cent of power from wind and renewables
  • 57 per cent power from NewBrunswick (hydro, nuclear, coal, LNG and diesel)
  • 300 kg CO2 produced by one megawatt hour in NB
  • 175 kg CO2 produced by one megawatt hour in Summerside

Right now, the city takes in electricity from the North Cape Wind Farm, the city’s own wind farm, the solar array and battery unit next to the Credit Union Place, as well as the main line from New Brunswick.

“Since 2011, the city of Summerside has been growing a smart grid initiative,” said Gaudet.

Using the smart grid, in combination with windmills, solar panels and the Heat for Less appliance initiative, the city has cut its reliance on New Brunswick electricity nearly in half.

The utility has been doing a pretty good job managing to keep an even load, hour-by-hour, but if there’s a miscalculation, it costs the city some money.

Greg Gaudet is working with an artificial intelligence company to streamline energy delivery to Summerside Electric.
Greg Gaudet is working with an artificial intelligence company to streamline energy delivery to Summerside Electric.

If they make too much wind energy, they sell it at a rock bottom price, if they have to buy power from New Brunswick at the last minute, they buy it at a premium price.

The next step, getting underway shortly, is for Summerside Electric to run the BluWave-ai technology alongside its current program to see how the artificial intelligence performs in real life and in real time.

Summerside CAO Bob Ashley welcomes the collaboration and mutual productivity with a company like BluWave-ai.

“We’ve got something for them, we can supply them with all kinds of data which helps them make their artificial intelligence more intelligent and they can provide us with this software that we can deploy in the field.”

Summerside residents won’t see the savings on their bills, but instead in city services, and facilities, said Ashley.

He’s keen for the city to remain leaders in greener ventures.

“It positions the utility on the leading edge of technology, which is artificial intelligence. If we can use artificial intelligence, and the appropriate algorithms and whatever other calculations involved with that, to make energy purchases more efficient then we’re all for it,” said Ashley.

Twitter.com/AlisonEBC


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