Government of New Brunswick

Description and Background
The Province of New Brunswick will pursue regional electricity agreements, joint ventures and partnerships where there are positive commercial outcomes for NB Power and defined benefits for New Brunswick ratepayers.

New Brunswick has a mature and well-developed electricity system and a unique geographic advantage because we are electrically connected to four neighbouring jurisdictions: Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New England (via Maine) and Quebec. These provide New Brunswick with access to electricity from numerous sources, including renewable sources from Quebec and, in the future, Newfoundland and Labrador. The same connections can also move electricity generated from cleaner energy sources in New Brunswick and from regional neighbours to other markets.Our interconnectivity also allows for greater cooperation in areas such as generation reserve requirements, load balancing and other system stability and reliability measures. It is widely believed that we could take on more intermittent renewable electricity sources, such as wind and solar energy, if such capacities were backed up and balanced by a larger regional generation and load base.

To examine these and other regional issues and opportunities, the Government of Canada has sponsored the Atlantic Energy Gateway (AEG) initiative. Since 2009, this project has served as a launching pad for detailed discussions and studies of potential benefits of regional electricity cooperation, including enhanced system integration, expanding clean and renewable energy sources, and regional transmission planning. New Brunswick is actively engaged with the other Atlantic Provinces and the federal government, supported by the region’s utilities.

In addition to the AEG initiative and bilateral opportunities with neighbouring jurisdictions, New Brunswick, through the Department of Energy, will remain an active participant in a number of regional, national and North American energy sector organizations, including the Federal-Provincial-Territorial energy committees that report to the Canadian Council of Energy Ministers, the Northeast International Committee on Energy, and the Energy Council, which includes representation from sixteen North American energy producing states and provinces.

  

Overviewof Atlantic Energy Gateway Initiative
The Atlantic Energy Gateway initiative facilitates the development of clean energy resources in Atlantic Canada by fostering collaboration, common understanding and communication among governments, utilities and the private sector. Led by the Government of Canada and supported by all four Atlantic Provinces, the initiative carries out regional electricity studies and resource modeling.

  

Key Objectives Served by this Action
Low and Stable Energy Prices
– Sharing costly system reliability requirements, load and generation balancing, and moving to a regional transmission planning model represent potential cost savings to NB Power. Access to external electricity markets allows us to purchase imported energy when prices are low, and sell surplus electricity when prices are high.

Energy Security – Maintaining and strengthening relationships with our neighbours, particularly Quebec and New England, will ensure we continue to have access to electricity generated outside New Brunswick. This is especially beneficial when our generating capacity is constrained (during planned and unplanned outages).

Reliability of the Electrical System – Cooperation and interconnections with neighbouring jurisdictions enhances system reliability.

Environmental Responsibility – New Brunswick’s electricity system currently balances wind power generation from our province, Northern Maine and PEI. This allows more energy to be harnessed than would be possible if these jurisdictions had to balance their own wind generation.

If regional balancing were expanded to include Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, it could result in significantly more intermittent renewable generation regionally than would be possible without regional cooperation.