Growing the Clean Tech/Green Tech Sector in Summerside
The City of Summerside Prince Edward Island is an atypical municipality in North America which is steeped in a rich and robust Municipally owned traditional infrastructure, core service delivery provisions and amenities found in all jurisdictions across North America. Summerside, being a small but accessible small city, understands the challenges business, entrepreneurs and inventors face when looking to launch that next product or service and for that perfect investment location that balances economic advantages with quality of life amenities.
Summerside is home to over 700 businesses in a number of key sectors including Aerospace, Information Technology, Renewable Infrastructure, Marine Manufacturing and Training and traditional industries including farming and fishing. Over the past decade, Summerside has become a leader in the Clean/Green Tech sector pushing the limits of what’s possible to drive efficiencies in our business communities and providing future opportunities for our next generation of aspiring business and labour cohorts.
While our journey began with the installation of four windmills we did not stop there. The windmills were the catalyst for building a future industry that not only respects innovation and the environment but established Summerside on a path towards achieving net-zero, or as close to it as possible, through our collective vision and determination to build the best “Smart City” in North America.
While we have achieved some significant milestones be it our fibre network communications system, our Energy Storage Heat for Less program, our Living Lab Program advancing technologies and services to our Solar/Energy storage CUP Project Pilot to our most recent innovations in utility-scale Solar and Battery to our new Business Commons Eco Park, Summerside has taken a leadership role in advancing this critical sector and we are not stopping there, our journey is still continuing.
Through our collaborative research and partnerships to our Innovation Strategy, Summerside has embraced a philosophy to continue to seed, invest and pursue opportunities in the transportation, industrial buildings and energy industries to further advance innovation on the path towards a net-zero economy. It has been built on three foundational pillars: Adaptation, Commercial Scale-up, and Technology Venturing.
Adaptation encompasses efforts to introduce existing commercial technologies into new markets or localities. Operating in this mode entails a focus primarily on activities related to marketing innovative business models, customer engagement and social acceptance, and novel financing structures. Within this mode, policy efforts support entrepreneurial and financial efforts to bring existing renewable innovations to new markets.
Commercial scale-up encompasses efforts to achieve broad commercial activity across the value chain of technology – from manufacturing to retail deployment. Often, this involves moving technology from the demonstration phase to commercial diffusion. Scale-up activities typically occur after successful demonstration projects are completed. Scale-up activities can also focus on building industrial capacity around proven technologies. This innovation mode focusses on incremental innovation activities as opposed to the spending of large amounts of resources on R&D to compete at the technology frontier.
Technology venturing encompasses efforts to move a particular technology or system from the R&D stage to the demonstration stage. This is often achieved by establishing a firm and securing financing or by licensing the technology to an existing firm. This innovation mode occurs at the technology frontier and often involves efforts to commercialize a breakthrough technology. Renewable innovation in this mode involves the manufacture of novel systems and products and is typically highly research- and capital-intensive.
 International Renewable Energy Agency, Renewable Energy Innovation Policy: Success Criteria and Strategies, 2013.
Currently, Summerside is continuing its journey for advancement in these sectors to ensure we not only position ourselves for future economic opportunities but, just as important, develop a culture and community that embraces innovation and sustainability. Over the course of the next several months, Summerside will continue to outreach and promote some important initiatives to reach our goals including the following:
Business Commons Building One Industrial Passive Design
A first in PEI to embrace Passive Design Principles targeting a reduction of up to 70% reduction in operational costs for an Industrial Building. This 15,000 square foot facility is planned to deliver PEI’s first Passive House Certified Industrial Building and will also target to be a Net-Positive Structure.
Research Centre inside the Business Commons
Building on the success Summerside has achieved over the years in renewable energy, grid integration and utilization of municipal assets in collaboration with our corporate partners, we are in the early stages of function and space planning for a facility that embraces investment in innovation and emerging technologies. This Research Facility will allow like-minded companies to collaborate, test and advance sustainable innovation along with attracting a labour pool to work under the auspice of our Living Lab that will accelerate and shorten time to market for advanced innovations to be developed, tested and exported from Summerside.
Electrification in Transport
Recently having completed our review and future plans for how to advance the adoption of Ev’s in Summerside and building our Municipal Leadership in Ev adoption, Summerside is exploring ways to accelerate not only private options but also public electrification of transport. Given our investments in charging infrastructure and disposition to maximize transport, we are working to embrace 4 season vehicle to Grid Technology by trying to source major auto manufacturers but also looking to invest in local competencies with Summerside-based firms to advance V2G technologies.
Currently Summerside stores energy in two traditional modes; battery and heat sink. This situation we believe presents an opportunity for renewable innovation in terms of finding other distributed or large-scale energy storage capacity or expanding current battery or heat sink capacity. Given Summerside’s advancement on a Utility-scale, our focus now is exploring more distributed energy models to embrace at source storage opportunities. We envision next-generation energy storage to take hold in Summerside over the next decade and, to that end, are exploring opportunities in both the residential space and also industrial/commercial sector. With known opportunities in technologies such as Non-Diesel Facility Back-Up Generation, At Source Fast Charging Storage for Ev charging infrastructure, 4 Season EV Testing and Grid Integration, V2G Technologies, Residential Environmental Controls and monitoring and Appliance Control, Summerside is looking to advance storage more broadly in the community.
Water and Waste Upcycling
With global regulations, environmental concerns and societal changes that are influencing the way business and cities operate and putting pressure to be more responsible for water utilization and waste streams, Summerside is in the early stages of working with local business and innovators advancing innovation in water and waste upcycling. In the context of a municipal setting like Summerside, with a diverse sectoral representation including aquaculture, dairy, farming as well as traditional manufacturing enterprise, the challenge is both to manage, monitor and troubleshoot the underlying distribution infrastructure and also monitor usage and outflows of business and residents utilizing these resources. With everything from plastics pollution mitigation to reducing landfill streams and management and monitoring of quality and quantity of our municipal water resources, capturing value add from our waste streams and managing our water resources is critical. Summerside is exploring innovations in the water and waste upcycling sector to embrace environmental stewardship.
Summerside has achieved much in the Clean/Green Tech space and for a City of 15,000 people is now seen as a model of what’s possible when you combine strategic thinking, municipal assets in an open ecosystem and aggressive approaches to taking bold action and to a certain extent risk to advance a sector and community.
Summerside’s commitment to investments in state-of-the-art technology and facilities render the city a prime environment for its goals of assisting internal and external stakeholders in maximizing the city’s potential. As we forge ahead on this journey we continue to adapt and refine our approaches but stay focussed on a future of innovation and sustainability. As we move ahead, we look forward to engaging with collaborators with like-minded objectives looking to advance and accelerate innovations to building.
The City of Summerside’s macro policy goals are to establish itself as a leader of innovation in order to increase its economic competitiveness. Expanding and diversifying its innovation portfolio is an attending big-picture goal. These goals will help Summerside achieve self-sufficiency, greater use of municipal resources, and economic development through innovation.
Call us today if you are interested in working and investing in a Community that embraces innovation and sustainability as part of its economic future.
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Director of Economic Development City of Summerside
275 Fitzroy Street, Summerside PE C1N 1H9
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