New Brunswick releases energy transition plan

December 21, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

Powering our Economy and the World with Clean Energy—Our Path Forward to 2035 is a new document released by the province of New Brunswick, Canada, that “outlines a 12-year energy road map and supporting strategies for how the energy landscape will transition in New Brunswick and how we will achieve our energy reliability, sustainability, and affordability goals.”

A message at the beginning of the document—signed by the New Brunswick premier Blaine Higgs and minister of natural resources and energy development Mike Holland—notes the importance of engaging New Brunswickers on the province’s energy future. “We will be forming an energy transition working group” to gather input from provincial stakeholders, the letter states.

Generational opportunity: Holland says in a video accompanying the document’s release that New Brunswickers “have a generational opportunity in front of us to change the way we use energy to live and work that will lead to a cleaner environment while at the same time creating significant economic growth and opportunities in our province. Our actions today and over the coming years will determine what the climate will look like for future generations.”

Main aspects of plan: To take advantage of this opportunity, the document lists five main aspects of New Brunswick’s energy transition plan, which are highlighted in a brief summary on the provincial government’s website.

One part of the plan is a doubling of New Brunswick’s nuclear baseload generation by 2035 through the addition of 600 MW of power with small modular reactors at Point Lepreau nuclear generating station. Officials also plan a fivefold increase of wind and solar capacity, with the addition of 1,400 MW of wind power, 200 MW of grid solar power, and 300 MW of behind-the-meter solar power.

A third aspect of the plan involves increased roles for hydrogen, renewable natural gas, and biofuels, with traditional natural gas serving as a transition fuel. A fourth aspect concerns transmission upgrades and enhanced connectivity throughout Atlantic Canada, a region comprising New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

A fifth part of the energy transition plan is the addition of more electric vehicle charging stations and the increased use of biofuels and hydrogen for powering vehicles.

Road map: The document and the summary include a road map that “identifies some of the key activities and decision points with respect to our energy transition over the next 12 years.” However, due to “ongoing changes in policies, regulations, technologies and markets . . . it is well understood that the road map will undergo ongoing updates as we progress.” A few of the points in the road map, as it now stands, are as follows:

  • By 2025, a decision is expected regarding the proposed Mactaquac Life Achievement Project, to institute modifications and upgrades that will ensure that the Mactaquac hydroelectric power plant will continue to operate for its intended 100-year lifespan. By 2026, the Grand Manan diesel electrical generating station is to be retired.
  • A hydrogen road map is to be released in 2024. The government intends to support the development and start-up of at least one large hydrogen production export facility sometime between 2027 and 2035. Significant growth in the electric vehicle charging system is to be achieved by 2029.
  • An upgrade of the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick transmission line is also to be completed by 2029. By 2030, the coal-fired Belledune generating station will be converted to a biomass system. By 2031, 150 MW of SMR power is envisioned, with an additional 450 MW by 2035.

Working group: Regarding the energy transition working group that is being formed, the report states that it “will be chartered to engage with First Nations and key stakeholders to solicit the necessary input and feedback that will assist us in the development of our plans through ongoing dialogue.”

Additional information about the working group and the energy transition plan can be obtained by contacting the New Brunswick Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy Development at (506) 453-2510 or

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