An Update on the New Brunswick Energy Sector
Updated: Jun 11, 2019
June 2019 – Atlantica Centre for Energy Blog
Welcome to the Atlantica Centre for Energy blog. A site that hosts our commentaries on various energy-related issues in the Atlantic region.
In New Brunswick, a new Premier is in place with a new set of priorities. We are optimistic that New Brunswick has a new sense of direction as well. At the Atlantica Centre for Energy we are encouraged that the province will address getting its fiscal house in order and make serious steps towards creating a climate that is inviting to investment from across Canada and beyond.
We think it is timely to update the public regarding the energy sector in New Brunswick.
Climate Change, Carbon Emissions, Carbon Tax
Most people do not understand carbon emission targets, where we are in meeting them, what carbon pricing is, and how it will impact them.
The Atlantica Centre for Energy created a short briefing document (available on our website) that helps to de-mystify the topic. We have also created a series of infographics as a quick summary of key points.
In essence, back in 1990, a baseline year, carbon emissions in New Brunswick were the same as they are now. Great news. But it gets even better…New Brunswick has met the targets adopted by the Federal government and set out in the Paris Accord to the year 2030.
To continue to meet future targets beyond 2030 requires behavioural changes…lifestyle changes. The question is: how do we grow our economy, yet further reduce carbon emissions?
We have to be careful that by introducing taxation as a way to change behaviour we don’t cripple our economy and place undue stress on the vulnerable in our society.
We also have to acknowledge the gains and investments made by our industrial sector ahead of the regulatory need to do so. Why should we penalize companies who acted “pro-actively” and reward those who lagged behind?
The Atlantica Centre for Energy is working to identify these implications and unintended consequences to help guide community leaders through this issue. The government’s plan must clearly identify how we will reach our long-term targets, and how we will mitigate the impacts on our economy. The policy must lead to reductions in emissions, not just new taxation.
In New Brunswick, the province has submitted a new carbon taxation plan to the Federal government for its review. This has required a thorough understanding of the unique situation of New Brunswick. Its manufacturing base is energy intensive, yet export dependant. And its mainly rural communities have few transportation alternative choices.
We have to think about attracting new investment to the province and how that will impact reducing our emissions further.
Connecting Energy to Markets
Transmission lines and pipelines are increasingly difficult to get permitted and built in Canada.
Pipelines are the safest and most environmentally sensitive way to transport large quantities of oil and gas over land. The Energy East oil pipeline would have removed a large quantity of oil transported by rail and reduce some foreign imports. It would also have given Canadian crude access to the east coast and international markets.
The cost of some forms of renewable energy are getting close to “grid-parity”. New Brunswick is well positioned to supply neighbouring New England with its increasing demand for non-emitting energy.
New Brunswick has also created a home for research and development of Small Modular Reactor technology. This will help to leverage a competitive advantage New Brunswick has over other regions. Not only does it position New Brunswick as a centre for this technological development, its commercialization would develop an entirely new industrial sector that does not exist today.
The Atlantica Centre for Energy commissioned a supply/demand report for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick out to the year 2025. Our concern is the depleted supply of natural gas from offshore Nova Scotia.
With no on-shore development, the only option is to import from other regions. This causes New Brunswick users of natural gas to pay well over $100 million MORE for natural gas. Pipeline tolls cost more than the price of the gas itself. This places New Brunswickers at a competitive disadvantage.
At the Atlantica Centre for Energy we delve into these issues, briefly described here, in an effort to provide guidance and background information.
The Atlantica Centre for Energy was established over 15 years ago. We are composed of a cross-section of stakeholders in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador, Ontario, Alberta and New England. Sectors include environmental, community, academia, government, utilities, plus both providers and users of energy.
In a nutshell – we are an educated voice on energy topics relevant to the Northeast and promote a higher level of energy literacy.
As we look to the future, we encourage you to learn about the opportunities in front of us. This region has the potential to become a global center of energy and innovation, and you can help. The decisions we are making today will set the stage for the next century.
Colleen Mitchell, President
506.674.9439 direct | 506.650.0923 cell
27 Wellington Row, Saint John, NB E2L 3H4