At Energizing Efficiency 2023, QUEST Canada provided an overview of the NB Smart Energy Communities Accelerator Pilot. This Program provides a structured process to help communities accelerate greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts. The process helps communities create a path to net zero by improving energy efficiency, energy conservation, and identifying renewable energy opportunities.

As well, communities are encouraged to explore economic development opportunities that emerge through the planning process and use energy savings to fund valuable social initiatives.

A consultative approach to community energy planning is key to implementation success:

Community engagement is built into the accelerator process at multiple stages of the process. The result: a true community-centered energy plan that reflects the unique needs, values and priorities of each community.

There are 14 participating and partnering communities in New Brunswick.

The process: Assess current energy needs and identify an energy path, including strategies for improving energy efficiency, energy conservation and exploring renewables.

For participating community, St. Mary’s First Nation, the energy planning process led to a variety of projects. They identified energy efficiency retrofits for band-owned facilities, commercial buildings and older homes. Solar power was identified for band-owned buildings, commercial buildings, ball diamond, and new farm. Their plan incorporated a community bus, EV chargers, and active transportation routes.

The community impact is broader than direct energy savings. Social benefits including multi-use trails for the community and investing green energy revenue into water supply upgrades to support growth.

QUEST Canada is a national non-profit that supports communities in Canada on their pathway to net-zero. NB Power is a Quest Canada Smart Energy Partner and a member of the Quest Canada Network.

Learn more about empowering efficiency at the community level at this year’s Energizing Efficiency conference. Explore the agenda and discover sessions featuring First Nations Success Stories and other community-based efficiency projects. Meet Tonja Leach, Executive Director at QUEST Canada and a nationally recognized leader in community engagement. Ms. Leach is a keynote speaker at this year’s event.