Municipal Lighting Control to Meet Hydro-Québec’s Hilo Challenges in Varennes

Municipal Lighting Control

March 6, 2023

Hilo, a subsidiary of Hydro-Quebec, recently announced an initiative in partnership with Dimonoff and the City of Varennes to begin a pilot project to reduce street lighting during peak winter periods.   

The goal of this pilot project is to evaluate the real impact of this initiative on the collective effort to reduce energy consumption during periods of high demand on the power grid. “For us, it’s clear that municipalities play an essential role in the clean energy transition,” explains Martin Damphousse, Mayor of Varennes. “It’s not just the responsibility of residents or companies to do their fair share. We’re a role model when it comes to the electrification of transportation, amongst other things, through the installation of charging stations, LED streetlights and all of our other initiatives,” he adds. 

Dynamic and Smart Energy Reductions  

Between sunset and sunrise, Varenne’s street lighting was operating at full capacity. In order to address this overuse of electricity during peak hours, the city decided to take action and volunteers for the Hilo challenges. Following a successful trial period, where different levels of brightness reduction were tested, the city decided to reduce the brightness of nearly 900 streetlights by 50%. During the Hilo challenges, this intensity is further reduced to 25% in the morning (from 6 a.m. to sunrise) and in the evening (from sunset to 9 p.m.).

These challenges occur when the demand for electricity is at its peak and the Hydro-Quebec network is extremely busy. During a normal winter, we can count up to thirty Hilo challenges for a maximum of one hundred hours.   

Municipal Lighting Control to Reduce Electricity Consumption 

Thanks to Dimonoff’s Smart Lighting Management Systems (SLMS), Varennes can dim its lights and reduce its electricity consumption during peak hours on the Hilo challenges. By 2019, the city had already upgraded its municipal lighting network to LED technology through the Fédération Québécoise des Municipalités (FQM) lighting control project, powered by Dimonoff.   

This same technology is also being used in the pilot project with Hilo, including the use of RME wireless smart lighting nodes and the Dimonoff | SCMS urban asset management platform. The new advanced event-based planning functions allow the remote management of all Varenne’s streetlights in real time, as well as the management of their light intensity according to the project’s needs.

Integrating Energy Efficiency at a Municipal Level 

For Hilo and Hydro-Québec, the objective of the pilot project is to validate whether this modulation of public lighting is an effective and acceptable way to reduce demand on the power grid.   

Thanks to its streetlights, Varennes becomes the first city to participate in the Hilo challenges

“This pilot project illustrates that Hilo and Hydro-Québec are innovating by using every means at their disposal to reduce energy demand. Every kilowatt-hour saved or shifted to another time-of-day counts! Reducing non-essential consumption is the simplest and most effective way of ensuring that the network can support increased demand and contribute to Quebec’s clean energy transition,” emphasizes Sabrina Bouchard, manager of energy products and business development at Hilo. 

If the results of this pilot project are significant, it is possible that this initiative will be extended to other cities in Quebec, and even in Canada. The Hilo challenges represent a great opportunity to implement Dimonoff’s street lighting control solution throughout the province of Quebec.   

“Our partnership with the City of Varennes is an example of how we can work with municipalities and government companies like Hilo to reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint. Reducing the light intensity of LED streetlights during winter peaks is an important step towards a more sustainable future for Quebec and Canada. We are proud to contribute to this pilot project,” said Jostran Lamontagne, Dimonoff’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. 

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