The city of Shediac, New Brunswick will soon serve as a testing ground for new technologies that are being developed by NB Power and Siemens Canada. The smart energy community project is funded by a $5.7 million CAD (~$4.2 USD) grant from Natural Resources Canada. It is expected that the work will enable the provincial power utilities to shorten outages, better integrate customer-owned renewable energy assets onto the power grid, improve resiliency and self-sufficiency for individual communities, lower green-house gas emissions, and protect customers from the potential rate increases related to the adoption of these new technologies.
500 homes in Shediac will be selected to test technologies such as smart thermostats, solar rooftop generation, smart water heaters, and in-home battery storage. The utility will also focus on potential cybersecurity issues posed by these connected devices and test varying rate schemes.
“Our goal is to meet the future needs of our customers in a safe, reliable and cost-effective way by gradually eliminating the remaining 20 to 25 % of our power generation that is carbon producing while ensuring we protect our customers from the significant rate increases that have resulted from this transition elsewhere,” said NB Power president and chief executive officer Gaëtan Thomas. “The only way to have a fully renewable future is with the integration of smart grid technologies that ease the acceptance of small-scale renewables onto the grid and this pilot project will allow for testing the integration of small scale solar power and battery storage along with other smart technologies into customers’ homes.”
A sister project in Amherst, led by Nova Scotia Power, is getting $5.1 million CAD from Natural Resources Canada’s $100 million Smart Grid Program. The focus there will be on commercial applications, such as installing solar panels with battery storage on a number of commercial buildings. Each utility will focus on slightly different aspects of testing, so that results and lessons learned can be shared across the two provinces.
Solar farms will be constructed in each community in order to add green power to the grid while giving both utilities valuable grid experience in managing solar generation of this size.
“These smart investments in electricity infrastructure build a stronger and more resilient grid and help build better connections between communities,” said Fundy Royal MP Alaina Lockhart. “Incorporating renewables, smart meters and battery storage into Canadians’ homes and businesses will help power real change in terms of emissions reduction and increase awareness of energy consumption.”