New Brunswick considers fixed prices

New Brunswick should set up a program for standard offer contracts that would pay C$0.09/kWh for production from wind power projects up to 15 MW in size and majority owned by municipalities, co-operatives, or other non-profit groups, says a new report. The recommendations are the result of a round of community consultations held across the province earlier this year by Yves Gagnon, chair of sustainable development at the Université de Moncton. "The report presents innovative ways to finance renewable energy projects, while allowing New Brunswickers to participate and benefit from the development of a new energy sector that has great potential for economic development throughout the province," says Gagnon. The province's energy minister, Jack Keir, New Brunswick Power and the New Brunswick System Operator, are reviewing Gagnon's 29 recommendations and expect to come up with a program design to present to the provincial cabinet this winter. The report suggests the province start with a 100 MW pilot program, with the potential for expansion should it prove successful. The C$0.09/kWh fixed tariff would rise 2% a year to keep up with inflation, meaning the average price paid for the electricity will be C$0.115/kWh over a 25-year term. Gagnon calculates the 100 MW pilot will cost electricity consumers less than $0.0003/kWh.

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