August 24 2017, 11:15 AM
Nestled along the shore of the Bay of Fundy about eight kilometres from Dorchester is the Johnson’s Mills Shorebird Reserve and Interpretive Centre. The centre is owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving natural habitats, plants and animals.
The centre recently upgraded to a solar energy system that is able to power the entire facility. On cloudy days when the centre cannot draw enough power from the sun, it uses energy from the NB Power grid as part of the Net Metering Program. The program is designed to allow customers to generate their own electricity to offset their consumption, while remaining connected to NB Power's distribution system – so they can meet their electricity demands when their generation unit cannot.
“It was important for the Nature Conservancy of Canada to power our facility with solar energy because in protecting habitats and managing our lands, we want to minimize our impact on climate change,” Kerry Lee Morris-Cormier, Manager of the Shorebird Interpretation Centre, said.
The solar array is made up of 4, 250W photovoltaic solar panels with converters. EOS Eco-Energy, a non-profit organization based out of Sackville that supports energy conservation and renewable energy technologies, supplied the funds to pay for the array through a grant.
“By reducing our carbon footprint, we are having a positive effect on the environment here,” said Morris-Cormier.
“The Interpretive Centre was able to net zero their consumption last year using the grid as a reliable source when the sun is not present but were able to give all that energy back using the power of the sun. It’s a great example of environmental leadership and stewardship,” said J.P. Ouellette, Renewables Specialist at NB Power.
The purpose of the Interpretive Centre is to provide a safe place for shorebirds to roost, or rest, during their migration each year from the Canadian Arctic to South America. Up to 100,000 stop and rest at Johnson’s Mills. The mud the low tide leaves behind is rich with food sources for the birds to store in their fat pouches.
Shorebirds fly over the ocean for three days straight before arriving in South America. These birds can’t swim, which is why it is so important for them to remain undisturbed while they roost throughout the month of August, and is why the Johnson’s Mills Shorebird Reserve and Interpretive Centre exists.
“We have converted this old cottage from the 1950’s into an interpretive centre so we can be here in the summer months to monitor the species and help inform the public of how special these birds and how to best visit the area without harming the birds,” said Morris-Cormier.
July 24 2017, 14:48 PM
We know our customers are very interested in green energy sources, particularly solar energy. NB Power is also looking into more options when it comes to solar energy, including the Smartflower.
The Smartflower is currently on the market in other northern countries with weather patterns similar to Canada. We are currently testing the device at the Energy Control Centre in Marysville to see how well it is able to perform in New Brunswick. The Smartflower is the first of its kind in New Brunswick and will supply energy to the building while we measure its output and performance.
“The Smartflower product is an exciting development that provides a self-contained solution for consumers who want to invest in green energy to supplement their energy usage,” said Tony O’Hara, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Engineering.
The Smartflower is more compact and attractive than traditional solar panels. The face of the flower follows the sun throughout the day, and the petals close after sunset or if it becomes too windy. It could generate enough energy to power a summer cottage.
This is just one of the many forms of technology NB Power is looking at to meet the needs of our customers. In the future, we are looking to provide more and more products and services for New Brunswickers who want to integrate green energy in their households.
“It is very important that NB Power be a leader in the promotion of renewable energy sources. This is a small example of how we are doing just that,” O’Hara said.
July 7 2017, 14:32 PM
EV drivers, it’s time to hit the road in New Brunswick.
We’re excited introduce you to the eCharge Network- the first electric vehicle public charging network in our province. This network will include standard level 2 charging stations across New Brunswick and a fast-charging corridor along the TransCanada Highway, from Edmundston to Aulac.
Encouraging more New Brunswickers to drive EVs is an essential part of our plan to support climate change action. In New Brunswick, an electric vehicle owner can shrink their carbon footprint by approximately 80%, thanks to our renewable and non-emitting energy supply. By the end of July 2017, EV drivers will be able to pull up to one of the 10 DC fast chargers along the Trans-Canada highway and recharge their EV’s battery in about 30 minutes. With less time spent charging up your car, you can spend more time on the road, exploring all the great things New Brunswick has to offer- whether you’re from here, or just visiting.
So, where can you charge up?
By the end of July you can find the DC Fast Chargers along the TransCanada at the following locations:
- Edmundston Truck Stop, Edmundston
- Irving Oil Grand Falls Big Stop, Grand Falls (St. André)
- Johnson Guardian, Perth-Andover
- Murray’s Irving, Woodstock
- Petro-Canada, Prince William
- Irving Oil Lincoln Big Stop, Lincoln (Waasis)
- Youngs Cove Irving Oil, Youngs Cove
- Irving Oil Salisbury Big Stop, Salisbury
- Magnetic Hill Irving, Moncton
- Irving Oil Aulac Big Stop, Aulac
In addition to the fast-charging corridor along the Trans-Canada highway, NB Power will install fast-charge sites at five locations throughout northern New Brunswick in fall 2017, cost-shared with the New Brunswick government. Locations include the Restigouche, Chaleur and Miramichi regions, as well as the Acadian Peninsula.
Here’s a clip from NB Power President and CEO Gaëtan Thomas announcing the launch of the eCharge network on July 7 at the Atlantic Nationals Car Show in Moncton.
To find these stations as they become installed or level 2 chargers, check out our station map.
We’re working together with businesses, institutions, municipalities, and with support from important partners like Natural Resources Canada, to develop and grow the eCharge Network for the benefit of New Brunswick EV owners and those EV drivers visiting the province.
Are you a business, municipal administrator or institutional representative who would like to offer EV-charging to your clients or residents? Learn more about becoming a charging network champion!
How much will it cost to use a fast charger? A standard level 2 charging station?
The charging rate is $15/hour, billed by the minute and based on the total time connected to the station. This rate is competitive with the industry standard. In order to use an eCharge Network charging station, EV drivers must become members of the network by signing up at eChargeNetwork.com. The rate fees for a standard charging station are either $1.50/hour (billed by the minute and based on the total time connected to the station) or $3.00/session, with the rate fee being set by the charging station owner.
Haven’t decided if you’re ready to make the switch to driving an EV? Check out this post to learn more about the benefits of making the switch to driving electric.
June 14 2017, 13:33 PM
NB Power line technicians and other crews work alongside different types of nature within their day-to-day jobs. Trees, shrubs and even squirrels can interfere with power lines and other electrical structures. One of the main threats to energized equipment are birds, particularly ospreys, or larger birds of prey.
In order to ensure safe, reliable energy to our customers while also keeping osprey populations safe, NB Power follows an Avian Protection Plan (APP). The APP is designed to protect migratory birds by reducing the number of interactions birds make with electrical equipment. This is accomplished by identifying high-traffic osprey areas and modifying our structures with safer parts. The APP also directs maintenance crews on how to avoid and, when necessary, handle active bird nests.
Ospreys are attracted to utility poles because they serve as vantage points for hunting, roosting sites, eating platforms, a place to nest, territorial boundary markers and shelter from the elements. Usually birds can interact with utility poles without any harm coming to them, but there is always a risk of the birds coming in contact with the energized equipment- this can be dangerous for both the birds and our equipment, as it can cause harm to the birds and cause power outages for our customers.
Baby birds are at even greater risk, as they awkwardly move around equipment while learning to fly. Sticks or other nesting material that fall from the nest can also cause short circuits.
We take several measures to prevent harm from coming to birds and potential outages from their activity. This includes developing a special training program for employees who are directly involved with the design, construction, operation and maintenance of electrical facilities and equipment.
We also have plans in place to avoid building transmission lines in the following areas whenever possible:
- known bird concentration areas (sensitive areas, ecological reserves, etc.);
- daily movement flyways (e.g., between a wetland and adjacent agricultural field);
- habitat of species at risk; and
- areas with a high incidence of fog and mist
Osprey contact with transmission lines usually occur on lines that are close to areas where ducks, geese and other large water birds frequently fly. In up to 90%of cases, birds come in contact with an overhead wire instead of the more visible energized conductors. Approaching birds will often fly upwards to avoid the conductors, only to hit the wire. Research has shown that removing the overhead wire can decrease those collisions by half.
NB Power has plans in place to place lines in a way that reduce the risk of ospreys and other large birds making contact with these lines. For example, we build new transmission lines at the same height or lower than nearby trees and vegetation. Birds will gain altitude to fly over the obvious tree line and avoid any contact with the line.
Finally, we work with the Department of Natural Resources to build high wooden platforms to encourage nest-building away from our poles. When we discover active nests on our structures, we assess to determine if they are immediate threats to the electrical system. If the nest doesn’t pose a threat, we will inspect the area after the osprey chicks leave the nest (end of the summer) but before the following nesting season (early spring) takes place. After the baby birds have left the nest, we can transfer it to an adjacent osprey platform.
May 19 2017, 17:24 PM
At approximately 9:30 p.m. on May 18, 2017, a powerful thunder and lightning storm bringing strong winds swept through the Acadian Peninsula. Environment Canada is saying that winds may have hit 190 kilometres per hour. Several poles on the causeway and bridge from Shippagan to Lamèque, and also in the Pokeshaw and Anse Bleu area, were affected by the high winds.
Thursday night, crews safely restored electricity to 2500 customers from a peak of approximately 7,000. Efforts were complicated by ongoing lightning.
Replacement equipment like poles, power lines and structures were sent from Fredericton to the northern area overnight Thursday. Fifteen new poles were required. None of the infrastructure which was damaged was new since the last ice storm.
Power is restored to Lamèque & bridge is reopened to traffic. Customers remaining without power should all be restored by 3pm Saturday.
Customers are reminded to stay clear of downed lines and equipment, and to be mindful of the safety of crews that may be stopped along the roads working to restore power.