In 2020, SECC will be recognizing a member each month, providing an organizational profile and highlighting the member's accomplishments and output in the smart energy space.
For 100 years, NB Power has been a part of the fabric of New Brunswick, Canada. The provincial electric utility has one of the most diverse generation fleets in North America, with 40-percent renewable energy and 74-percent non-emitting generation, as of March 2019. Over 2,600 energy experts provide reliable, safe and sustainable energy for over 400,000 direct and indirect customers every day.
Using a customer-centric approach, NB Power is committed to developing sustainable energy for future generations of New Brunswickers. Part of this commitment includes investments in energy efficiency programs, energy solutions, renewable energy sources and smart grid technology.
Customer expectations, climate change and new technology are causing significant changes to the future of energy. The utility is preparing for that future today by investing in a smarter grid to enable more renewable energy and demand response projects.
In 2016, NB Power, along with smart grid partner Siemens, joined the University of New Brunswick to launch the Smart Grid Innovation Network (SGIN) In Fredericton, the province’s capital city. The network leads the way for innovative ideas and building a smart grid economy in New Brunswick. SGIN offers a three-lab testing environment for businesses that have smart grid products, services or solutions.
The partnership with Siemens expanded in 2019 with Smart Grid Atlantic, a pilot project with neighbor Nova Scotia Power that’s focused on moving Atlantic Canada toward grid modernization through increased renewable adoption and energy conservation initiatives. The Shediac Smart Energy Community Project is one of four community initiatives under Smart Grid Atlantic. The project will test new smart energy technologies and renewable energy sources, identify customer benefits and encourage energy savings in a picturesque seaside town.
The provincial utility saw the opportunity for New Brunswick to become leaders in the Canadian electric vehicle (EV) space. In 2017, they launched the eCharge Network, making New Brunswick the first fully connected Canadian province with a fast-charging network for electric vehicles. Today, the network has fast-charging sites positioned every 40 miles throughout the province. They’re leading by example by replacing 50 percent of their entire light-duty passenger fleet vehicles with EVs.
As an energy solution provider for New Brunswick, NB Power is putting more control in the hands of customers when it comes to energy management, with business-focused demand response pilot projects and energy efficiency programs for both commercial and residential customers.
Their demand response projects range from dispatchable water heaters for residential customers that shift water heating to off-peak hours to peak rebate and reduction programs for commercial customers. They’ve turned their focus inward with demand side management (DSM) projects focused on reducing emissions and demand from its own facilities. Through these efforts, New Brunswick reduced demand during peak hours by over 22 MW across 2018 and 2019.
Small businesses are the backbone of New Brunswick’s economy, and NB Power is changing how it does business with these customers. They’re meeting the customer where they are and showing them the energy solutions, energy efficiency programs and energy management possibilities to improve their business. Seven hundred businesses have received incentives through the Commercial Buildings and Small Business Lighting programs since 2015, and uptake continues to grow.
For residential customers, the utility offers the Total Home Energy Savings Program, New Home Energy Savings Program, the Low-Income Energy Savings program and the Community Outreach Program. All New Brunswickers can take advantage of these programs, no matter how they heat. Five thousand homes have completed the Total Home Energy Savings Program, and 600 new homes are entering every month.
These customer-focused programs have seen savings over $100 million in lifetime energy costs, while providing $77.5 million of investment in the local economy.
NB Power is planning for New Brunswick’s energy future. With input from experts and the public, their 2020 Integrated Resource Plan will help move New Brunswick to a cleaner energy future and guide the utility’s decision-making as they look at current conditions, expectations and forecasts for the next 20 years.
Through a refurbishment of the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station, investments in renewable energy, decommissioning fossil fuel stations and energy efficiency, the utility has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 68 percent over 2005 levels, exceeding the 2030 goal laid out in 2015’s Paris Agreement.
They’re working closely with First Nations communities to bring community-owned renewable energy projects to life through the Locally Owned Renewable Energy that are Small Scale (LORESS) program. Across 2018 and 2019, two First Nations communities entered into two contracts with the utility to develop a total of nearly 40 MW of renewable energy to be in service this year.
Building on decades of nuclear expertise, NB Power is entering the next phase of their nuclear journey, helping to advance the industry in Canada with small modular reactors. This work aims to make New Brunswick a worldwide center of excellence in the research, development and potential demonstration in the next generation of safe and efficient nuclear energy.
As the industry evolves from the traditional utility model to a focus on energy solutions, NB Power stays focused on their customers’ expectations while they build a greener, more sustainable future for the place they’re proud to call home.