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Saint John Energy gets $4M for net-zero roadmap

By Brad Perry May 24, 2023 | 3:01 PM

The municipal electric utility in Saint John has a goal of achieving net-zero emissions by the year 2030.

Saint John Energy is getting nearly $4 million in federal funding to help develop a net-zero roadmap, Saint John-Rothesay MP Wayne Long announced Wednesday.

Zero30 will focus on three primary pillars: energy supply, forecasting to accommodate growth, and customer innovation.

Ryan Mitchell, the utility’s president and CEO, said the project is building on its successes to date in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“This initiative is basically drawing a line in the sand in terms of a date that we’re actually targetting to get all the way to net-zero,” Mitchell told reporters after Wednesday’s announcement.

We have made incremental progress over the last few years and now let’s get over the finish line by 2030.”

About 80 per cent of current electricity generation in New Brunswick is clean and non-emitting, according to Mitchell.

The 10-turbine Burchill wind energy project at the Spruce Lake Industrial Park adds another 15 per cent for the utility, he said.

“That gets us up to approximately 95 per cent, so we know, at least initially, we have a five per cent gap to close by 2030,” said Mitchell.

“Getting there is one thing, staying there is also going to be another challenge,” he added.

That is because some forecasts suggest the demand for electricity will double by 2050 as society moves away from fossil fuels.

Part of the roadmap will look at how and where the utility’s grid will need to evolve so as to strategically prioritize future investments in the system.

Mitchell said a major area of focus for the utility will continue to be on renewable energy.

“We’ve been collecting data on solar, we have some pilot projects here on our campus, and we obviously have a lot of learnings that have come from wind,” he said.

The utility also plans to look at carbon capture and other emerging technologies that can help contribute to its net-zero target.

As part of its net-zero roadmap, Saint John Energy also plans to explore ways in which it can help its customers do the same.

“This will include looking at what leadership role we should play with innovations in EV charging, energy efficiency, in renewable energy options such as rooftop solar, in home comfort and in energy efficiency,” said the utility’s new Zero30 website launched Wednesday.


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