The province of New Brunswick is home to one of the largest, most highly diversified energy portfolios in Canada. From hydroelectric power to nuclear, and wind power to biofuels – we have it all. Our region’s energy mix is adapting as innovative clean energy solutions continue to emerge as a response to mitigating climate change.
To reduce the impacts of our climate crisis, the Government of Canada has committed to reducing the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030. The Government of New Brunswick aims to meet and exceed this while reaching the federal and provincial target of net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. These targets have prompted new policies, including the nation’s phase-out of coal-fired electricity by 2030.
While New Brunswick is a “national leader in lowering emissions, having reduced emissions by 38 per cent since 2005,” it is apparent that achieving these climate goals will be no small task. Fortunately, our region is full of innovators across various sectors.
Opportunities NB (ONB) recognizes the importance of supply chains and supporting small and medium enterprises, and large businesses, in navigating sustainable economic opportunities through this energy transition. ONB continues to advance the province’s economic priorities in several energy-related areas by building upon the expertise, infrastructure, and partnerships already in place.
New Brunswick’s Energy Sector Innovations at a Glance
Energy innovation is key to our future growth and prosperity, and the Government of New Brunswick is actively supporting the growth of the province’s diverse energy sector. Below is a look at 10 of the exciting energy-related goings-on in our province.
1. The Belledune Port Authority aims to become the province’s first green energy hub. Its Green Energy Hub is a specialized development district welcoming green energy projects and low-carbon industries. They recently announced a collaboration with Cross River Infrastructure Partners to pursue use of an advanced Small Modular Reactor (aSMR) from ARC Clean Technology Canada.
2. Two advanced Small Modular Reactors (aSMRs) are being developed in New Brunswick: ARC Clean Technology’s ARC-100 and Moltex Energy’s fuel-recycling Stable Salt Reactor – Wasteburner (SSR-W). Both companies are collaborating with NB Power to advance this fourth-generation nuclear technology.
3. Irving Oil is expanding hydrogen capacity at its Saint John refinery, with an eye towards offering hydrogen fueling infrastructure for the region. This makes it the first company to introduce hydrogen to the regional market. Its agreement to purchase a hydrogen electrolyzer makes it the first oil refinery in Canada, and one of the first in North America, to make an investment of this kind.
4. Saint John Energy is developing smart grid technologies to help consumers better understand and monitor their energy use and create a more efficient, cost-effective way to provide energy to customers. The utility was recently recognized with a Smart Energy Innovation Award from the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative’s Best Practices Awards.
5. In a unique collaboration with a First Nation community, Saint John Energy has also partnered with Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation) and independent power producer Natural Forces on a 42-megawatt wind farm in Lorneville dubbed the Burchill Wind Project.
6. Moncton’s PMC Energy is making buildings more energy efficient via its unique Building Automation Systems (BAS) offering. Among the BAS system’s capabilities are sun-based auto-adjusting window blinds to leverage daylight harvesting.
7. UNB’s Centre for Nuclear Energy Research has a variety of energy-related projects Among them is a collaboration with ARC Clean Technology Canada on sodium chemistry and the design of a “small, recirculating liquid sodium test loop, which will act as a scaled demonstration for sodium handling, providing industry, government and the public confidence that the technology is well-managed and easily handled.”
8. The City of Saint John’s on-demand electric bus service, FLEX, is the first of its kind in North America. The City uses the Karsan e-JEST, the first electric transit bus in North America, and has leased six of these buses to service FLEX routes.
9. NB Power is working with Quispamsis-based The Smart Energy Company to build its 1.63 megawatt (MW) solar farm in Shediac. “The solar farm is the first of its kind in the province and an important part of the larger Smart Grid Atlantic smart and renewable energy research program being run by NB Power, Siemens Canada, and Nova Scotia Power,” noted the utility in a press release.
10. The Université de Moncton (U de M), NB Power, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Mitacs, and the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) have partnered on a new Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) at U de M. This Centre leverages AI and sensor research and capabilities to bolster reliability, reduce costs, and improve workforce safety across NB Power’s operation. Interested companies are invited to consider NBIF’s Artificial Intelligence Fund to help increase productivity and competitiveness.
It is remarkable to reflect on the transformational work being done across New Brunswick’s energy sector to build a more sustainable future for generations to come. If you are curious in learning more about our current energy infrastructure in New Brunswick, we encourage you to explore via this interactive map. For more on clean-energy innovations, including how to contact our Energy Innovation sector lead, please be sure to visit ONB’s Energy Innovation page.
Stay tuned to this space over the coming months as ONB spotlights some of these Energy Innovation stories in their own standalone features!