May 4, 2018 8:21 pm

City of Lethbridge launches new energy efficiency pilot project

WATCH: A new energy efficiency pilot project unveiled by the city on Friday is hoping to creating savings without having residents change their day-to-day activities. Malika Karim reports on how the new technology can help reduce the city's overall power consumption.

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The City of Lethbridge is implementing a pilot project, the first of its kind in Western Canada, aimed at reducing voltage output without compromising service.

It’s called grid optimization technology.

Individual user data, collected by newly-installed advanced electric meters from residents’ homes, will help leverage new grid optimization technologies. The technology is aimed at helping the city increase grid efficiencies and lower the operating voltage of the entire distribution centre.

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“As we lower our demand in the City of Lethbridge, there’s savings for everybody,” Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman said.

READ MORE: City of Lethbridge wants your input on future development

Lowering voltage delivered to homes and businesses will provide small savings for individual customers, without asking them to change their usage behaviour.

“They most likely will not notice it on their bills,” the city’s electric utility manager Stew Perkins said. “The saving projected is somewhere between two to four per cent of the energy coming in.”

“So it’s really more so if we apply that over the city, we start to think about that significant if we make those grid upgrades to all of our customers.”

The technology will still maintain national electricity standards set by the Canadian Standards Association.

The pilot program, which runs until February 2019, is being implemented at one of the city’s six electric substations using technology developed by Virginia-based Dominion Voltage Inc.

If the pilot ends up going city-wide, officials say it would lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining safe and reliable electricity.

“If we expanded this beyond a trial basis and applied CVR technology across the entire city, the equivalent savings and energy that one could expect as a result of that would essentially take roughly 2,000 to 4,000 homes off the grid as far as their power requirement is concerned,” Purkis said.

“That’s how much energy would be saved through the efficiency gain.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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