The Belledune Port Authority (BPA) is transforming itself with an eye towards becoming the province’s first green energy hub in line with the province’s objective of powering the economy and the world with clean energy.
The Port is rising to the challenge of climate change and working in advance of Government of Canada commitments to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 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.
President and CEO Denis Caron says the Port has long been a key driver of climate-friendly energy sources. The past decade has seen the BPA become the largest biomass exporter in Eastern Canada thanks to its exporting of wood pellets. “Power plants in Europe have reduced their GHG emissions in recent years, and our exporting of wood pellets has played a role in making that happen,” he says. “Green energy has been part of our operations for some time now.”
The Green Energy Hub
In 2020, the BPA launched its long-term planning process that led to a 30-year Master Development Plan. A centrepiece of that plan is the Green Energy Hub, a specialized development district on Port lands welcoming green energy projects and complementary, low-carbon industries. BPA has wasted no time launching several green energy initiatives including:
- Partnering with Cross River Infrastructure Partners on the building of a hydrogen production facility.
- Signing MOUs with Germany’s Port of Hamburg and Port of Wilhelmshaven to supply clean fuels and green products to Germany and other European nations. These agreements support the MOU between Canada and Germany that will establish an energy partnership aiming to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. They also support Canada-Germany Hydrogen Alliance signed in August 2022 in Newfoundland.
- Signing MOUs with two advanced modular reactor (aSMR) technology companies alongside its partners at Pabineau First Nation – ARC Clean Technology and Moltex Energy. Caron says that while the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station will deploy the first ready units, the port has been identified as the second area for deployment of the technology as an industrial energy supply.
- Increasing volume of wood pellet exports. New conveyor systems and expanded warehouse space, a result of approximately $25-30M in the last three years, have made this expansion possible.
Caron says the BPA also has its eye on several other green energy solutions including industrial development of green steel/iron, green battery production via sourcing and shipping of manganese, and more.
First Nations Involvement is Essential
Two years ago, BPA, Pabineau First Nation, Eel River Bar First Nation, and Mi’gmawe’I Tplu’taqnn Inc signed an Impact Assessment Act (IAA) Protocol, the first of its kind in Canada and a complementary document to the Relationship, Engagement & Consultation Protocol, a previous first of its kind agreement signed five years ago. This means the Port’s First Nation partners are part of the Port’s development plan and Green Energy Hub activities.
“First Nation partners play an active role; we meet with them regularly to discuss potential projects,” he says. “We receive new inquiries weekly and always ensure to make them aware of any potential energy projects that may arise. Then it’s about sitting down to decide which projects we wish to jointly pursue.”
A Diverse Energy Ecosystem Worth Championing
Caron has decades of experience with the provincial government and he knows the province has plenty to brag about with respect to its energy portfolio.
“We have one of the few nuclear plants in Canada, the country’s only LNG terminal, the largest refinery in the country, and we’re actively pursuing aSMRs and hydrogen energy,” he notes. “When I travel internationally and talk about all this, people are impressed. That a small province has that much going on is noteworthy. We’re punching well above our weight. I believe the future looks great for the province’s energy sector.”
As a bulk port shipping 27 different bulk products, the Belledune Port Authority serves as an excellent complement to Port Saint John and its container services. Learn more about the BPA and its Green Energy Hub at https://portbelledune.ca.
The province of New Brunswick is home to one of the largest, most highly diversified energy portfolios in Canada. Learn more about it, and how to contact our team here.