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NB Power, Siemens and UNB launch network to spur innovation

2016-01-28


Fredericton, N.B. –  Siemens Canada, NB Power and the University of New Brunswick (UNB) are providing local and global companies with a new testing platform to drive innovation and support business ideas for development and export to world energy markets.

The Smart Grid Innovation Network (SGIN) was officially launched today by founding partners Siemens Canada, NB Power and UNB.  Siemens Canada CEO Robert Hardt, NB Power CEO Gaëtan Thomas, and UNB Vice President of Research David Burns were joined by local Member of Parliament Matt DeCourcey representing ACOA and Donald Arsenault, New Brunswick Minister of Energy and Mines, for the announcement in Fredericton.

“The Government of Canada is committed to supporting innovation that helps to fight climate change and promote sustainable growth,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. “We are proud to support the Smart Grid Innovation Network, a world-class energy management partnership with the potential to introduce sustainable energy sources to the power grid, and reduce energy waste. This new initiative represents an important and positive step forward for clean energy and sustainable economic development.”

SGIN will offer businesses a venue to design, develop and test smart grid related products and services, offering aspiring start-ups and established companies a testing environment to overcome technology hurdles. It will allow companies to test and adapt products using smart grid technology, enabling them to communicate with other products and respond intelligently to the demands of the electrical grid. 

“We are focused on creating the right environment for innovation to flourish to help create jobs and grow the economy. This partnership will support local businesses and entrepreneurs, while positioning New Brunswick as a centre of excellence to attract companies that want to develop and test smart grid technology,” said Energy and Mines Minister Donald Arseneault. “This partnership is a great example of local and international leadership working together to develop innovative ways to make New Brunswick a world leader in smart grid technology.”

“This Smart Grid Innovation Network is Siemens’ newest investment in New Brunswick, and we are incredibly excited about SGIN as a catalyst for innovation and development in the business community with smart grid ready products and services as the outcome – not only to support smart grid deployment here in NB but to promote it throughout the Siemens world and beyond,” said Robert Hardt, President & CEO of Siemens Canada.

The SGIN is comprised of three interconnected labs, each with a number of virtual and physical lab elements.  These include:

  • Smart Grid Research Lab at the University of New Brunswick
  • Interoperability Lab at Siemens
  • Products and Services Lab at NB Power

“While our primary goal is to transform the electricity system in New Brunswick to bring customers greater value and services, we also have a tremendous opportunity here to help local businesses get their smart energy products market-ready,” said NB Power President and CEO Gaëtan Thomas. “This new network will provide local and global companies a chance to build on the R&D already happening here and promote greater innovation for the benefit of New Brunswickers.”

Beyond the physical labs, SGIN is intended to offer a single point of contact for local and global companies for smart grid related development and testing, as well as provide research and development testing. To assist this, SGIN will host workshops and conferences to engage and exchange knowledge among users and potential users of the network.

Siemens will invest over a million in cash and in-kind over the next five years into the SGIN and its testing environment, known as the Interoperability Lab.  NB Power will invest approximately $2 million in cash and in-kind in its Product and Services Lab; and UNB has also committed more than $2 million in cash and in-kind, including National Science Engineering Research Council project research funding, to the venture.

At a government level, SGIN is also supported with a non-repayable contribution of $2 million from the federal government through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA), Business Development Program (BDP) to the University of New Brunswick (UNB) for the creation of a Living Lab that will support the smart-grid power management research and development activities, as well as an $840,000 provincial government investment by Opportunities New Brunswick (ONB).

“At UNB, we’re incredibly proud to be at the forefront of smart grid research and development. Our collaboration with NB Power and Siemens on the Smart Grid Innovation Network is one of the many examples of the rich eco-system of innovation we have in this province,” said Dr. David Burns, Vice-President Research. “Investments such as the SGIN are incredibly important to the work we do at UNB and enable our researchers to work together with other stakeholders and innovators to the benefit of all. We see immense potential for the SGIN to foster the co-creation of intellectual property at the cutting edge of smart grid technology.”  

Media Contacts:

Marie-Andrée Bolduc, communications, NB Power, 506-458-3212

Tyler Campbell, communications, Energy and Mines, 506-453-4090

Laura Heidbuechel, communications, Siemens Canada, 289.952.1600

Hannah Classen, communications, UNB, 506 443-3917

Ann Kenney, communications, ACOA, 506-452-3687