For Immediate Release – July 26, 2022
ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS SUPPORT CALL FOR REVIEW OF NEW MODEL FOR NB POWER’s TRANSFORMATION
Today the environmental organization New Clear Free Solutions asked for a review of its model to transform NB Power to a renewable energy utility in a way that will keep electricity rates low and achieve its required equity goals. The request is supported by the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick (CRED-NB).
On July 4, the NB Power board fired its CEO and engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Canada to perform a strategic review to transform the utility. The letter sent today to the NB Power board Chair Charles V. Firlotte requested a meeting between New Clear Solutions founder Chris Rouse and the team conducting the strategic review at PwC Canada.
Chris Rouse, with more than 25 years’ experience in industrial systems engineering, has been an intervener in three of the last four NB Power rate hearings. He developed an alternative Integrated Resource Plan for NB Power with the following elements:
-Achieves a 95% renewable energy mix by 2040 or sooner
-Maintains low and stable rates
-Achieves NB Power equity targets in the near term, and pays down NB Power debt and makes NB Power very profitable in the longer term
-Creates significant economic activity and jobs
“For successive years NB Power management teams has ignored alternative plans to make public investments in renewable energy. The firing of the CEO and engagement of PwC is an opportunity for transformative change to develop a public electricity utility that New Brunswickers need,” said Rouse.
The model proposed by New Clear Free Solutions has been validated by NB Power, which included the model as an appendix in its 2017 IRP but they never implemented it. “This is in spite of their own review of the modeling performed by NB Power System Planning Engineer Darren Clark who stated at a rate hearing “We reviewed Mr. Rouse’s model and functionally I believe the majority of what he is setting out to do, the model is accomplishing.”
The letter to NB Power states that NB Power has two main ways to achieve the transformational economic and environmental goals the board is looking for. The first is large rate increases which would be “unpopular” considering inflationary pressures already on New Brunswickers. The second option, which this plan promotes, is an equity injection from our carbon tax revenue into NB Power, to invest in renewables and efficiency in lieu of rate increases. This is already possible under current legislation, and a great way to give the carbon tax back to New Brunswickers to help curb inflation.
The letter states that ”Using the carbon tax revenue to make investments in renewables and efficiency not only enables NB Power to meet its equity target without significant rate increases, but also reduces fuel and purchased power cost that will give NB Power more free cash flow to reinvest. This reinvestment will compound like compound interest and will exponentially transition the electricity grid to 95% renewable, achieve equity targets and make NB Power very profitable.”
The Coalition for Responsible Energy Development (CRED-NB) speaks for more than 20 groups and 120 individuals in the province advocating for a nuclear-free renewable energy future endorsed the meeting request. Representative Susan O’Donnell stated “CRED-NB is interested to see a third-party review of how this plan for NB Power can support a sustainable energy future for all New Brunswickers.”
The letter to NB Power is available on the New Clear Free Solutions website, HERE.
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