Summerside seeking more wind energy profits

The Summerside wind farm is bringing in $2 million a year in profits, but city officials believe it could be doing even better.

Surplus electricity sold at a loss

Summerside's wind turbines are creating more energy at night than the city can use. (CBC)

The Summerside wind farm is bringing in $2 million a year in profits for the city, but officials believe it could be doing even better.

Coun. Jeff Sullivan, chair of the city's power utility committee, said the utility is taking a loss selling energy to New Brunswick overnight during off-peak hours. There's no demand for much of the power being produced at night in Summerside, so the utility has little choice but to sell it where it can.

The loss comes to about $300,000 a year.

"There is, over a period of time, and let's say one year, about 8.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity produced, that there is insufficient demand for," said Sullivan.

"You have to take that 8.5-million kilowatt-hours and sell it on the open market."

The city is looking at two ways of selling more of that electricity locally.

It wants Maritime Electric, the electrical utility for the rest of the Island, to hand over customers it is currently servicing within the Summerside city limits.

Sullivan said there also needs to be a bigger uptake on the city's so-called 'Heat for less now' program. That program involves special heating units that store energy for customers during off-peak hours, which is then released to heat homes during the day.