SUMMERSIDE – The problem of storing excess power from the city’s wind farm has been addressed and city officials are preparing a program that will offer homeowners a break on their electricity bills.
The plan involves ceramic room heaters and water heaters that will allow the storage and use of wind-generated power.
“We have at the present time about 15 per cent extra energy which we ship off Island,” said Chief Administrative Officer Terry Murphy. “We want to keep that energy here at home. One of the methods of keeping it home is to store it in a manner that has converted it to a difference substance.”
Murphy said the two pieces of equipment the city is looking at to do this storage are heating units; the Steffes room heater and hot water heaters.
“Basically, the electric heater you have today comes on and off based on the demand that is required at the moment,” Murphy said. “From the utility side of things there’s no control over when comes off and on.”
The city is planning to install a fiber optic communications system that will be able to gauge the amount of power that is required to service the heater.
The city’s electric committee has recommended to city council a five-year secure rate charge of eight cents per kilowatt for this new power source. Home heating oil is about 85 cents a litre. Murphy said that would have to drop to 69 cents a litre to compete with the eight-cent kilowatt charge.
The rate is fixed for the five-year period so there’s no chance for those in the program to get caught in an upswing from energy costs, he said.
“The next step we’re into right now is we’ll be putting together a brochure which will go out to the consumers,” Murphy said.
The city will have a purchase program, a lease program and a rental program for the heaters.
“After 4.5 years they will have that unit paid off and they would be saving that amount of money on their energy costs from then on,” Murphy said.
He said citizens will have an opportunity to get involved in this program and then be able to convert from oil and use electric heat with electricity already in the system.
“We’re going to be working towards 500 units out in the field,” he said.
That sets the stage for more windmills.
“That’s the end goal,” Murphy said.
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