Community energy policy announced (10/02/09)

NB 178

Feb. 9, 2010

BERESFORD (CNB) - The provincial government released its Community Energy Policy today.

"I am pleased to announce our approach to community energy today, and I look forward to the innovative projects that we will see in New Brunswick as a result of today's announcement," said Energy Minister Jack Keir. "Community energy provides a terrific opportunity for interested communities and First Nations to participate actively in the development of renewable energy in our province while contributing to the environmental sustainability of our communities."

The initial phase will consist of 75 MW, of which 50 MW will be assigned to community-owned projects and the other 25 MW to First Nations projects. Approved projects will receive 10 cents/kWh for electricity produced beginning in 2010. After five years, the price of the electricity produced will increase with the consumer price index in New Brunswick.

To qualify under the policy, projects must not be larger than 15 MW in capacity. They must be majority-owned by First Nations, municipalities, co-operatives, not-for-profit organizations or institutions. New Brunswick-based private corporations and investors may be minority partners.

"As a key component of our government's energy policy, we are committed to the development of renewable energy in New Brunswick," said Keir. "The provincial government is, and always will be, focused on providing opportunities for New Brunswickers in all regions of the province to participate in the Energy Hub."

Eleven workshops will be held between March 8 and 24 to educate interested communities and partners about the policy. A request for expressions of interest will be issued before the end of May to identify and define projects and proponents.

"Supporting community projects and increasing renewable energy capacity in the northern region of our province are objectives identified in An Action Plan for Self-Sufficiency in Northern New Brunswick 2010-2013," said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault, who is also the minister responsible for the Northern New Brunswick Initiative. "Community energy is part of our three-year plan to develop the North, and I am proud to support this initiative."

The Department of Energy, Business New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Enterprise Network will provide guidance and support to Community Energy Policy proponents that come forward. The Department of Energy will have two economic development officers dedicated to helping those interested in the policy. One of the officers will be based in northern New Brunswick.

"I welcome this policy, which will contribute to environmental sustainability by fostering the development of green energy projects that use renewable energy sources including wind, solar and tidal power," said Environment Minister Rick Miles. "This is a good example of how we can build on the commitments made in the New Brunswick Climate Change Action Plan, and I encourage interested groups to participate."

More information about the policy is online or may be obtained by contacting the Department of Energy, 506-658-3180.


EDITOR'S NOTE: Following are a backgrounder describing the policy and a schedule of Community Energy Policy workshops. MEDIA CONTACT: Bonnie Doyle Creber, communications, Department of Energy, 506-658-2410.

The Community Energy Policy

Renewable energy is corner stone of the Province of New Brunswick's energy policy, providing economic development opportunities and creating sustainable communities.

To support the growth of renewable energy in New Brunswick, the provincial government has developed a Community Energy Policy. The goal is to foster the development of locally owned and operated energy projects. It encourages participation from communities and First Nations, providing them the opportunity to contribute significantly to renewable and clean forms of electricity generation.

Community Energy Policy projects are defined as projects under 15 MW that are 51 per cent or more owned by one of the following New Brunswick-based entities: First Nations, municipalities, co-operatives, associations and not-for-profit organizations. The first phase will allow up to 75 MW of community energy projects, of which 25 MW will be allocated to First Nations.

Community Energy Policy projects may be based on biomass resources, wind, solar, small hydro or tidal power. Proponents must demonstrate availability and access to the energy resources being considered and present a viable business case.

Successful proponents will sign a long-term power purchase agreement with the local utility, which will set the initial price of electricity at $0.10 /kWh. This feed-in-tariff will be frozen for the first five years and then escalate with the consumer price index in New Brunswick. Proponents will be responsible for all costs associated with construction and maintenance.

The Department of Energy, with support from Business New Brunswick, the Regional Development Corporation and the New Brunswick Enterprise Network, will provide guidance and support to potential proponents that come forward. The Department of Energy will have two economic development officers dedicated to helping those interested in the policy. One of them will be in northern New Brunswick, the other in the south. A strategic development officer has been assigned from the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat to work with First Nations.

Community Energy Policy workshop schedule

Workshops are open to the public and all interested New Brunswick communities, municipalities and First Nations. All workshops run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Week 1:

Monday, March 8: Le Manoir Adelaide, 385 Adelaide St., Dalhousie
Tuesday, March 9: Danny's Inn, 1223 Principale St., Bathurst
Wednesday, March 10: Centre Culturelle, 9 du Carrefour Ave., Caraquet
Thursday, March 11: Econolodge, 365 Pleasant St., Miramichi

Week 2:

Monday, March 15: Auberge Vieux Presbytère. 157 du Couvent Rd., Bouctouche
Tuesday, March 16: Delta Fredericton, 225 Woodstock Rd., Fredericton
Wednesday, March 17: All Seasons Inn, 143 Main St., Sussex
Thursday, March 18: Hampton Inn, 700 Mapleton Rd., Moncton

Week 3:

Monday, March 22: Auberge Près du Lac, 10039, Route 144, Grand Falls
Tuesday, March 23: Grand Manan Community Centre, 24 Curling Ln., Grand Manan
Wednesday, March 24: Fundy High School, 44 Mount Pleasant Rd., St. George