FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has introduced legislation to create a program to allow a number of different local entities to work with NB Power to install renewable energy sources in their communities.

“As a government, our key priorities are job creation, getting our fiscal house in order and making life easier for families,” said Energy and Mines Minister Donald Arseneault.  “Renewable energy has an important role to play in pursuit of our priorities because this sector has the potential to create jobs in many New Brunswick communities.”

The Locally-owned Renewable Energy Projects that are Small Scale Program (LORESS) will encourage the creation of new renewable generation to serve in-province demand. It will also provide economic benefits to local entities such as universities, non-profit organizations, associations, co-operatives, First Nations and municipalities.

In addition, the program will help fulfill the province’s commitment to pursue renewable energy as outlined in the Renewable Portfolio Standard. The standard requires NB Power to ensure that 40 per cent of its in-province electricity sales are from renewable energy by 2020. NB Power currently provides more than 30 per cent of its in-province electricity sales from wind, biomass and hydro resources.

“We are pleased with today’s announcement as it will allow us to add renewable energy to the grid while keeping our rates the lowest in Atlantic Canada,” said Gaëtan Thomas, president and CEO of NB Power. “NB Power has made great strides in decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels in the last decade. Programs like these will encourage communities to become greener and be part of a collaborative future that will see us transform our grid by making it smarter and capable of balancing more renewable energy.”

Once the legislation is passed, regulations must be prepared in order to establish the new program. When the regulations are ready they will be posted online for a 30-day public comment period, as per provincial guidelines.

“Renewable energy can contribute to a diversified economy and reduce our dependency on fossil fuels,” said Arseneault.  “We are proud to take an important step in creating the conditions for sustainable economic growth in New Brunswick.”