“Working with the guys from Summerside Electric and the City of Summerside has just been fantastic. They’ve been great mentors.”
Stash Energy’s technology works in conjunction with a heat pump to store energy when it is at its cheapest point of the day for use to help heat
the home during more expensive peak hours.
Stash Energy, based in Fredericton, was co-founded by Jordan Kennie, Daniel Larsen and Erik Hatfield. Kennie and Hatfield are from New Brunswick while
Larsen is from Belfast, P.E.I. All three are students at UNB completing their masters in engineering entrepreneurship.
Since 2015 they’ve been working to create a device that uses smart grid technology to take cheap off-peak energy and store it thermally using a unique
compound they created to do the job and are working to patent. That stored energy can then be used during peak hours when electricity is more expensive.
The system works in conjunction with a heat pump. It’s comparable in size and look to a standard hot water tank
New Brunswick energy storage Startup Stash Energy is getting ready to launch a pilot program to test their technology in Summerside as part
of the Living Lab initiative. Stash Energy was founded by, from left: Daniel Larsen, Jordan Kennie, and Erik Hatfield. Rob Blanchard Photo
UNB University of New Brunswick
The partnership came about because Larsen listened a presentation from the city during one of his classes at UPEI, which he
attended prior to UNB. He was impressed with the level to which the city was willing to support emerging and innovative electrical technology.
A couple of years later, when the group started to work on their technology, Larsen approached the city.
It’s great to be able to take an innovative project like this to the next level in his home province, said Larsen.
“I like that P.E.I. is doing something innovative and I think it reflects well on the Island,” he said.
“A lot of much bigger players look up to what Summerside is doing,” he added.
If the Stash Energy pilot project goes well, the company hopes to start offering units for sale within a couple
of years. They estimate their systems could save homeowners another 30 per cent on their heating
costs in addition to savings from a heat pump. “Big picture for the company would be to have one of these (systems)
in every home. But realistically, if one in four New Brunswick homes had our unit, heat pump and storage, we would be
able to decommission one of our coal generating stations,” said Kennie.
The City of Summerside has partnered with international tech giant Samsung to test a
massive solar energy battery.
Summerside Mayor Bill Martin shakes hands with Steve Cho, president of Samsung Renewable Energy, during an announcement
at Credit Union Place Thursday.
The pilot programs’ proponents are touting it as a first in Canada.
Samsung Renewable Energy Inc. and city made the announcement Thursday. The project will coincide
with a solar energy project the city had previously announced for Credit Union Place (CUP) in an effort to
shrink the facility’s massive electrical bill. The city pays more than $380,000 annually to power the facility
and the battery and solar panels are expected to save the CUP a little more than $100,000 annually.
Thursday’s announcement was the culmination of a lot of hard work by a string of people from P.E.I.
to Korea, where Samsung is based, said Summerside Mayor Bill Martin. “This was a year in the
making … our agreement for this project is 510 pages long, for Phase I. So it took a lot of work,
a lot of back and forth. So I would say (I’m) a combination of extremely excited, proud and relieved,”
Other Samsung Renewable Energy Inc. projects going on in Canada
Martin also said that this is phase one in what could be a three-part project with Samsung. It all
depends on how this initial pilot project goes, but the two parties have signed a memorandum of
understanding regarding all three phases. Phase one involves constructing a shipping container-sized
battery and integrating it into CUP’s electric system. The battery will be fed power from 1,300
solar panels the city plans to build on a portion of the facility’s current parking lot. The battery
will store excess energy and pump it into the building during peak use hours. To accommodate
the build, one of the outdoor beach volleyball courts will be moved. The city does not expect to lose
any parking spaces as a result of the solar panels. Phase 2, if it happens, will include the construction
of a new solar/wind farm. This phase would bump the percentage of electricity the city gets from
renewable sources from 46 per cent to 70 per cent. Phase three would include investment in more electric
pilot projects, such as infrastructure for electric vehicles and a smart grid system. Martin said he expects
Phase 1 to be completed sometime this fall. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is providing $1.5 million
to the battery project, as is the city, for a total of $3 million in public funding. Steve Cho,
president of Samsung Renewable Energy Inc., said Thursday that his company has been welcomed
graciously into Summerside and they are looking forward to getting to work. “Summerside has the
great potential to evolve into the best smart grid community in Canada,” said Cho.
“We believe that Summerside is the right place to adopt more emerging technology and build energy infrastructure
on the community scale. “Today’s announcement is the first step towards achieving this great vision … and
we are very excited to enter into the more refined design stage of the project.”
Solar farm will be installed at Credit Union Place
The federal government has stepped in with some money for a large solar energy project on P.E.I.
ACOA is providing a grant of $1.5 million for a solar energy gathering and storage system at Credit Union Place, the major sports
facility in Summerside.
The project will reduce the city’s reliance on carbon-based energy production.
“The city of Summerside’s Smart Storage demonstration project is an excellent example of the sort of innovative solutions that
will drive our economy into the future,” said Navdeep Bains, the federal minister responsible for ACOA, in a news release.
The total cost of the project has been previously estimated at $3 million, and the city has said it is willing to contribute $1.5 million,
because it expects to save about $100,000 a year in energy costs.
The solar panels would go on green space behind CUP. There had been previous discussion of placing some of the panels in a parking lot,
which would have cost about 10 parking spaces, but that idea has since been dropped.
Gaudet said it’s difficult to have a clear estimate on costs right now because the costs of solar panels have
changed so much recently. He said generally speaking, the panels could cost between $1.2- 1.5 million.
He said that’s $2.40/watt, and overall this project would be about 600 kilowatts.
There will also be the battery system aspect of the project, and Gaudet said there is no estimate for that right now.
Mayor Bill Martin said this project could be a done deal by next summer
Mayor Bill Martin said this initiative is part of a bigger plan.
“Our long term plan is to have somewhere in the neighbourhood about a 15 megawatt solar farm,” said Martin.
“Obviously it won’t be located anywhere near downtown Summerside, but it will be connected to our grid system,
which would get us up to about 70 per cent green energy.”
Martin believes this initial project will be in the works next year.
“Avast, me hearties, ye had best practice ye scurvy pirate speak in preparedness o’ “Rapscallions.”
OK, so writing pirate talk is not as easy as it sounds. In case you missed that, Summerside video game company Funky Finger Productions Inc. is ready to release the newest pirate-themed addition to its lineup, “Rapscallions.”
Andy Roberts, director of product development at the studio, explained that the game is his small, but mighty, crew’s most ambitious project since the company was founded in 2012.
“This is the most adventurous game that we’ve done yet and we really want that to be our calling card. This is what a small team can do and this is what we’re capable of as a company,” said Roberts.
The game itself is akin to checkers, with the object being to send your pirate crew from your ship out onto a net grid connecting it to your opponent’s vessel. When two pirates encounter each other the aggressor knocks the defender off the grid. Whichever player completely decimates the other’s crew, wins. There are also various items and bonuses players can use to give their sprightly crew an advantage.
Users can play against an artificial intelligence, locally on the same device with a friend or over the Internet.
The game itself is free, but there are in-game, real money, purchases and advertisements.
Roberts called it a “spiritual successor” to an old Commodore 64 game called “Piracy.”
“Rapscallions” will appear on the Android store by the end of this week, while the iTunes version will appear, hopefully, sometime within the next couple of weeks.
Unfortunately, they can’t be more specific regarding release dates, said Roberts, because once the company submits the game to the distributor even they don’t know exactly when it will work its way through their system and be posted.
This will be Funky Finger’s third title, the others being “Ice Slyder” and “TyRunAsaurus.”
The company currently employs five people and operates out of the Holman Centre. As far as they know, they’re the only company developing video games in the Summerside area.
The fact that they exist might surprise some people, said Roberts, as the company tends to have a low profile. But they try to stay active in the Island’s small game-development community, which has about half a dozen members, take on students when able and generally trying to support the industry.
James Martin, one of the programmers, said he grew up wanting to work in the video game industry but always assumed he’d have to move away. However, an information technology expo he attended in Grade 10 surprised him with the amount of options he had locally.
He ended up being hired by Funky Finger right out of UPEI’s computer science/game programing program and moved to Summerside from Charlottetown.
“Rapscallions” will be the first game Martin has worked on with an actual studio and he’s proud of how it turned out.
“I’ve never released anything through a company yet, so it’s pretty exciting,” he said.
“There’s a lot of stuff that I’ve never done before that I’ve been able to do in this (game) that I think turned out well. So I’m excited for our future projects to be able to integrate that stuff and improve upon it.”
– Andy Roberts, director of product development
– James Martin, programmer
– Evan Doran, artist
– Eva Blacquiere, artist
– Amy MacPherson, programmer
– Matt Arsenault (former employee)