New Brunswick Communities Move One Step Closer to a Net-Zero Future with the Completion of the Re-Benchmarking Process
June 14, 2023–Today, QUEST Canada announces a new milestone for communities participating in the New Brunswick Smart Energy Communities Accelerator (NB SECA) Pilot Program.
The NB SECA Pilot Program successfully established a community energy and emissions planning (CEEP) accelerator to assist a cohort of New Brunswick communities, equipping them with the tools and knowledge to develop and implement CEEPs and understand their net-economic benefit.
Part of the NB SECA Pilot Program is the utilization of QUEST Canada’s Smart Energy Communities Benchmark Tool, developed in partnership with Pollution Probe, to provide Canadian communities with a better understanding of how to move towards a net-zero future, creating a benchmark scorecard that can be used to provide a roadmap and track progress on a community’s net-zero journey. The Smart Energy Communities Benchmark Tool evaluates communities based on 10 indicators relevant to community energy and emissions planning: Governance, Staff, Data, Financials, Strategy, Land Use, Energy Networks, Waste and Water, Transportation, and Buildings. The tool helps identify gaps and pathways forward and the tool’s assessment is meant to be repeated to determine improvements made.
Participating communities established their first benchmark scores in 2021 and then recently underwent a re-benchmarking process to determine and celebrate progress made in comparison to their initial scores. Participating communities increased their scores by an average of 14%.
The indicators experiencing the largest improvements were Strategy at 38%, and Staff at 27%. As many participants were at the beginning of their net-zero journey, large improvements in scores were to be expected from the creation of community energy and emissions plans and foundational elements, such as staff and governance structures, being put in place to action the work over the long term. Indicators showing the least improvement included Land Use at 5%, and Buildings at 7%. The length of time it takes to create and adopt new bylaws in addition to municipal reform and amalgamation occurring during the Pilot Program, impacted these scoring areas.
With the completion of the re-benchmarking process—NB SECA’s final project milestone—QUEST Canada has completed a program evaluation with a third-party evaluator and prepared for the program’s extension. The program will be extended by one year with a dual purpose: to provide additional support to participating communities addressing post-municipal reform to ensure their CEEPs are up-to-date and to equip a new cohort of New Brunswick communities to develop and implement CEEPs.
This program is supported by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Government of New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund, Énergie NB Power, Liberty Utilities, the Suncor Energy Foundation, and Stantec. To stay up to date on the NB SECA Pilot Program, and for more information, visit QUEST Canada’s website.
About the NB SECA Pilot Program
The NB SECA Pilot Program is designed to equip communities with tools and knowledge to develop and implement community energy and emissions plans (CEEPs) and better understand its socio-economic benefits.
This program includes nine participating communities in New Brunswick. In Fall 2021, five partner communities—through a partnership with the Association francophone des municipalités du Nouveau-Brunswick—joined the program. The 14 participating communities include:
N.B. SECA Pilot Communities
- Town of Quispamsis
- Town of Woodstock
- Village of Perth-Andover
- Town of Florenceville-Bristol
- Town of Saint Andrews
- Town of St. Stephen
- Town of Oromocto
- St. Mary’s First Nation
- Town of Sussex
Association francophone des municipalités du Nouveau-Brunswick Communities
- Village de Cap-Pelé
- Village of Nigadoo
- Communauté Rurale de Saint-André
- Village de Saint-Isidore
- Village de Ste-Marie-St-Raphaël
About QUEST Canada
QUEST Canada is a national non-profit that supports communities in Canada on their pathway to net-zero. Since 2007, we’ve been facilitating connections, empowering community champions and influencing decision-makers to implement efficient and integrated energy systems that best meet community needs and maximize local opportunities. We develop tools and resources, convene stakeholders and rights holders and advise decision-makers — all with the goal of encouraging and enabling communities to contribute to Canada’s net-zero goals.
Dallas Gillis, RPP, MCIP, Director of Planning and Compliance at Town of Oromocto
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Tonja Leach, Executive Director at QUEST Canada
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