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Tantalus to provide PEI city with smart grid technology

The City of Summerside has selected Tantalus to provide Smart Grid technology for one of the most innovative energy efficiency initiatives to date in Canada, according to Tantalus. Summerside, Prince Edward Island's second largest city, is undertaking a project that uses Tantalus technology to tie together the municipality's fiber-to-the-meter network, wind generated power and in-home energy storage devices. Together, these will enable the city to optimize the performance of its distribution network and significantly reduce its carbon footprint by providing consumers with a reliable, low cost source of renewable energy.


December 22, 2010
By Craig Pearson

The Tantalus system, says the company, will allow Summerside to precisely measure, monitor and control devices connected to its distribution network including special furnaces that can be charged with power generated by wind turbines. The ability to automatically turn energy storage devices on and off when wind is on the grid using two-way Tantalus technology will enable Summerside to quickly shift to stored power whenever peak load conditions arise, while using the less expensive energy to heat homes at night. Tantalus’ command and control functionality is also used by several utilities to regulate consumption on direct load appliances such as hot water heaters and air conditioners that are enrolled in load control programs. Time-stamped records verify that the action has taken place and indicate whether a customer opted out of an event, which is important for accurate billing and determining how much power was actually saved.

Terry Murphy, Summerside’s Chief Administrative Officer, said that wind is expected to satisfy roughly half of the city’s power needs over the course of a year. Furthermore, when the wind is blowing at full tilt, it can sometimes produce a surplus of energy which Summerside can sell back to other utilities, accelerating the payback on this large infrastructure project.

“But you can’t flip a switch and turn on the wind,” said Murphy. “Our ability to capture as much clean power as possible in the storage units whenever the wind is blowing, and then quickly access this power source as needed is what makes this system so efficient and unique.”

Summerside’s wind farm has been providing power to the city for over a year. Roll out of Tantalus smart meters and energy storage devices begin in January 2011. The city will run fiber to each home participating in the program.

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Summerside is the seventh utility to deploy a Tantalus Homerun Network, which leverages a municipal fiber optic network for Smart Grid functionality, and which can also be used as the backbone for triple-play media including internet, telephone and television. Its fiber-to-the-meter network supports upload and download rates of 1 Gigabit over an active Ethernet connection, which establishes the city as one of the fastest, most connected cities in North America, according to the company.

For more information, visit www.tantalus.com.