By Medicine Hat News on September 3, 2019.
A plan to upgrade the rural power grid in Cypress County and upgrade its local shop will receive $2.7 million in federal and provincial funding, it was announced on Friday.
Rural electrification association Equs announced this spring that it would install automated meters for its 12,000 rural customers across Alberta to better manage its billing and help cut down on maintenance costs and outages.
The plan by the largest power cooperative is the first of its kind in Canada by a member-owned utility.
On Friday, The federal Ministry of National Resources announced that it would provide $2.2 million in funding toward the project, which includes adding solar panels and a power storage system at its shop south of Medicine Hat. The location on Township Road 120 will also be outfitted with two electric vehicle charging stations.
Federal money comes from the $180-billion Investing IN Canada fund for transportation, green infrastructure and trade.
For the Equs project, an additional $500,000 will come from Alberta Innovates,a provincial government agency.
“As a co-operative, it’s important that we operate sustainably for our members and the rural communities we serve,” said Equs CEO Pat Bourne in a statement. “We’re excited to see the opportunities that this smart grid can create in rural Alberta and pleased that we’ve received such great support and recognition from the government as we move forward with this technology.”
Natural Resources minister Amarjeet Sohi made the announcement.
“The project… provides a model for rural utilities to strengthen their local grids, reduce costs and create jobs, while improving environmental performance – to the benefit of all Canadians,” he said in a provided statement.
Installation of the automated power meters began this summer in central Alberta franchise areas of Equs. Portions of the southern and northern Equs trading areas will see work proceed next spring.
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