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N.B. government’s 12-year energy strategy promises more renewables, lacks dollar figures


The province of New Brunswick has released a 12-year energy strategy taking the province to 2035, including becoming more dependent on renewables and “new energy” like hydrogen.

The province’s peak demand sits at about 3,000 megawatts today, but in 2035, due to expected population increases, the department believes that will increase to 4,000 MW.

The strategy is planning for 600 megawatts coming from small modular reactors (SMRs), 1,400 megawatts from new wind power, and 500 megawatts from grid scale and behind-the-meter solar power.

It also includes hydrogen exports as early as 2028.

It will mean a 38 per cent reliance on nuclear, 23 per cent reliance on wind, and 11 per cent on hydro. But during peak demand, diesel and oil will still be relied upon to cover 22 per cent of the province's power needs.

Not included is tidal energy because it is still unknown if it will have a role as a potential source.

Their aim is to have the first SMR online by 2031.

The plan promises the decision on the future of the Mactaquac Generating Station between 2024 and 2025, and the procurement of 200 MW of wind power by 2027.

Advanced metering is being promised for residential homes by 2025.

The province also has to account for the closure of the Belledune coal-fired generating station by 2030. This plan will mean a 40 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.

Government experts couldn’t say how much each target will cost at this point, saying they just have preliminary estimates and there is a hope to get some help from Ottawa.

“The SMR file, we don’t have costing on that as first of a kind,” said Energy Minister Mike Holland. “It’s one thing to say we don’t have that costed out here but we’re not dealing with complete unknowns.”

He referenced some benchmarks, like wind and solar, saying the province has been working on those sources for enough time that they have estimates on how much it can cost.

The strategy will have to include legislative changes, including the electricity and the pipeline act.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories


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