New Brunswick Smart Energy Communities Accelerator Pilot Program
Program Purpose & Rationale
The purpose of the New Brunswick Smart Energy Communities Accelerator Pilot Program (NB SECA Program) is to establish a community energy planning accelerator to assist a series of New Brunswick communities and one First Nation by equipping them with the tools and knowledge to develop and implement community energy plans and understand the net economic benefit they can provide.
Community energy plans define a community’s priorities around energy and serve as roadmaps to becoming a SEC. While there is no standard approach for CEPs they often include community energy inventories, goals, and actions and timelines for implementation, and are ideally informed by ongoing, meaningful community engagement.
As Canada turns its attention to revitalizing the economy and establishing our new normal we must ensure the basic and critical foundations are in place at the local level to maximize the potential of stimulus funding to harness economic development opportunities and meet New Brunswick’s climate change objectives (total GHG output of 14.8 Mt by 2020; 10.7 Mt by 2030; and 5 Mt by 2050) and Canada’s net-zero by 2050 objectives. These foundations are not currently in place. Business-as-usual scenarios forecast that the amount of energy consumed at the community level could increase by 75% above 2006 levels by 2050. The inefficient production, delivery, and use of energy poses significant environmental, economic, health, and social risks to communities.
Smart Energy Communities (SECs) have been recognized as economic development drivers and implementers, and a solution that is essential to meeting Canada’s net-zero carbon target by 2050.
10 communities, including 1 First Nation are participating in the NB SECA Program in New Brunswick. Confirmed communities so far are:
Town of Florenceville-Bristol
Located in western New Brunswick, the Town of Florenceville-Bristol is located on the Saint John River and is part of Carleton County. With a population of 1,604 as of the 2016 census, Florenceville-Bristol is a rural community that has a rich agriculture heritage. The Town hosts corporate headquarters of McCain Foods, the largest producer of French fries in the world and for that reason, the Town is known as “The French Fry Capital of the World”.
Florenceville-Bristol has an average temperature of 11.5 degrees Celsius and reaches record lows of -37.8 degrees Celsius in winter months and 35.0 degrees Celsius in summer months. Florenceville-Bristol receives approximately 1,100mm of precipitation per year and experiences all 4 seasons. During spring months, flooding can occur along the Saint John River in low laying areas.
The Town aims to reduce their corporate greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2027 from 2017 levels and their community greenhouse gas emission 10% by 2027 from 2017 levels. This will be done through a number of actions such as building retrofits, streetlight LED light bulb conversion and water conservation. Overall, the Town of Florenceville-Bristol is taking the correct steps to decrease their greenhouse gas emission, costs and increase the health of all its citizens.
Town of Oromocto
The Town of Oromocto is located in the Greater Fredericton Area of New Brunswick. The population within the town boundaries is 9,223 residents, based on the 2016 census. Oromocto is known as the knowledge industry of New Brunswick and major employers include the Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, one of the largest military training centres in the Commonwealth. Oromocto is also home to the Oromocto First Nation.
Village of Perth-Andover
The Village of Perth-Andover was formed in 1967 from the amalgamation of the two former communities of Perth and Andover, both located on opposite sides of the Saint John River. It is located in Victoria County, in western New Brunswick and is in close proximity to Tobique First Nation. The Village has a population of approximately 1,590 and is a service centre for the community and surrounding area within a 30 km radius in southern Victoria County, which expands its services to 4,000 people. The community is located in close proximity to the Trans Canada Highway, which has allowed it to develop an Industrial Park. It is also 10 km from the US border.
Village of Petitcodiac
The Village of Petitcodiac has a population of 1,383 people and is located midway between Moncton and Sussex. The village links to highways 1 and 2 and there is a CN rail line in the community, which opens it up to development opportunities. The community offers full services to its residents, including retail shops and services to sports and cultural activities, and is also zoned for industrial use.
Town of Quispamsis
The Town of Quispamsis is located in the Kennebecasis Valley in the southwestern New Brunswick, 22 km north of the City of Saint John. Quispamsis is located on the banks of the Kennebecasis and Hammond rivers and has a lake, Ritchie Lake, in the city center. The Town of Sussex is 45 minutes away and Moncton and Fredericton are 1 hour 30 minutes from Quispamsis.
The population of Quispamsis in 2016 was 18,245 inhabitants spread over an area of 57.21km², a density of 318.9 hab./km². The Municipality had 6,596 private dwellings in 2016, of which 6,455 were occupied by full time residents. 57% of dwellings were built before 1991. Quispamsis is the sixth-largest municipality in New Brunswick.
Quispamsis, and the four other regional municipalities — Rothesay, Grand Bay-Westfield, St. Martins, and Saint John — and area private sector investors have given Enterprise Saint John the mandate to be the backbone organization for the region’s integrated economic development strategy — True Growth.
In 2017, MoneySence named Quispamsis the best place to live in Atlantic Canada.
Town of Saint Andrews
The Town of Saint Andrews is a town located in Charlotte County along Passamaquoddy Bay in New Brunswick. It has a population of 1,786 residents. The Town’s Historic District is a National Historic Site of Canada as it has retained much of its 18th-century character. The Town is also referred to as St. Andrews-by-the-Sea and is known to the Passamaquoddy First Peoples as Qua-nos-cumcook.
St. Mary’s First Nation
Sitansisk is one of six communities that make up the Wolastoqiyik Nation. Sitansisk is a vital part of New Brunswick’s Capital City of Fredericton and is located next to the Wolastoq (also known as the Saint John River) on approximately 125.8 plus one hectares of land; a mere fraction of the Wolastoqiyik traditional unceded ancestral territory. Sitansisk is an urban community governed by a Chief and Council and is the largest employer on the North side of the City and has a population of 1987 members: with half living on and half living off the community. Sitansisk is in the process of completing a community greenhouse gas emissions inventory but does not have a community energy plan. Participation in the NB SECA Program will allow the community to both develop and lay the groundwork for community energy plan implementation.
Town of St. Stephen
The Town of St. Stephen is located in Charlotte County along the St. Croix River, and has a population of 4,415 residents. It is within close proximity to the U.S. border as well as Saint John and Fredericton. The Town is also known as Canada’s Chocolate Town due to its chocolate heritage from the Ganong Brothers who started a grocery store in 1873 that eventually became a chocolate corporation.
Town of Sussex
Sussex is a town in Kings County with a population of 4,282 (2016). Sussex is located in south-central New Brunswick, between the province’s three largest cities, Saint John, Moncton, and Fredericton. As the heart of Kings County with its 16 covered bridges, Sussex is known as the Covered Bridge Capital of Atlantic Canada.
Today, Sussex is primarily a regional service centre for the surrounding agricultural communities of the upper Kennebecasis River valley. The town is a highway service centre on Route 1, the primary highway between Moncton and Saint John, as well as being the most heavily travelled route in the Maritimes to the United States.
Since 2003, natural gas has been available from the McCully field near Sussex. The potential local natural gas supply and the energy opportunities resulting from the recently closed Potash Company of Canada mine both support the goals of the town’s Community Energy Plan and its economic development objectives.
Town of Woodstock
The Town of Woodstock is located 100 km’s west of the Capital City, Fredericton; 300 km west of Nova Scotia Border; 200 km east from the Quebec Border and 25 km’s from State of Maine Border. Settled on the banks of the Meduxnekeag and St. John Rivers at the intersection of the Trans Canada Highway at Exits 185 and 188, and I-95 at Exit 12. Woodstock was the first incorporated town in New Brunswick on May 1, 1856. Woodstock boasts some of the finest 19th Century Victorian heritage homes, churches and civic buildings. We are a vibrant, prosperous community -the service centre of the Upper St. John River Valley. As well, the retail and commercial hub of the agricultural, forestry and transportation sectors in the regional economy.
Program Services & Tools
Participants will receive support to guide them through implementation of a SEC Accelerator Plan, which will include:
Monthly touchpoint meetings with QUEST and other participants team to support community energy literacy and share knowledge
Community Energy Plan (CEP) Webinars (development and implementation)
Access to a series of customized services and tools which will guide communities to to either develop or advance their community energy plans (CEP).
Sep 2020 – Mar 2023
Project Oversight and Ongoing Activities
Dec 2020 – Mar 2021
Program Start-Up and Stakeholder Engagement
Apr – Jul 2021
Aug 2021 – Oct 2022
Plan and Implementation
Nov 2022 Mar 2023
The objectives of the NB SECA Program are:
Enhanced and ongoing knowledge sharing and support around community energy planning for 10 New Brunswick communities, including 1 First Nation.
The development and implementation of tailored SEC Accelerator plans and Summary Reports to help NB SECA participants assess their current achievements and next steps related to community energy planning.
Case Studies to assess the economic impact of elements of Community Energy Plans, and a report that uses these case studies to extrapolate the impact of implementing all CEPs in New Brunswick to help inform the province’s economic recovery strategy post-COVID.
Lessons learned and results that can be shared with interested stakeholders both regionally and nationally.
A refined SEC Accelerator program that can be rolled out to other communities across Canada.
This program was made possible by support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Énergie NB Power, Stantec, the Suncor Energy Foundation, and New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund.
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