An open letter to the Members of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick, the leadership of NB Power and the Energy and Utilities Board.
Leap4wards as an organization is interested in sustainability. We understand from its website that NB Power has a goal to obtain 40% of New Brunswick’s electricity from renewable sources by December 2020. We support this effort but have some concerns.
It has come to our attention that in New Brunswick a number of municipal power utilities and private entrepreneurs are developing proposals to produce their own power from proven renewable energy sources. These parties are running into roadblocks extending from the NB Electricity Act. Concerns include: who is allowed to produce the electricity used by NB Power, who decides the sources of power bought, compensation rates for independent producers, and where a community can produce its power.
We expect there are more roadblocks.
Meanwhile NB Power and the Province of New Brunswick seem to be preoccupied with less practical projects. New Brunswick tax payers/ratepayers have had their money invested in a questionable electrolysis project in Florida. Now we are also investing in a small scale nuclear project which would not be able to produce power for at least 10 years. These timelines do not match the expectations presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Leap4wards questions why we can’t work with New Brunswickers interested in renewable power generation who have projects ready to go. Simply by altering the legislation in the NB Electricity Act we could allow a range of proven renewable technologies to be brought forward fairly quickly.
This is the path that Germany took in 1991 when Herman Scheer initiated their Electricity Feed-In Act which required grid companies to connect all renewable power plants. The passing of this Act paved the way for Germany to become the world leader in renewable energy it is today.
Localization, in all its forms, is considered by many to be one of the most effective approaches to climate change. Allowing local municipalities and entrepreneurs to produce their own power from renewable sources would go a long way towards helping NB Power reach its admirable 40% renewable energy goal by December 2020.
Norma MacKellar and Paula Tippett are members of Leap4wards in Saint John.