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The world is embracing renewables; it’s time New Brunswick did too

On my drive into work this morning I could feel spring in the air and as I smiled to myself I thought, “Was that it?” Back in October, still recovering from the 5 meters of snowfall from last year, my family and I were stocking up for another long, cold and snowy winter - but it never came. Instead New Brunswickers were treated to a mild, short winter. That’s cause for celebration, isn’t it?   

Yes, and maybe no. As we learn more about the impacts of climate change on our local environment, its understandable that unseasonably warm days in March may cause some of us to pause and wonder if it’s a weather blip or an indication of something else. Here at Enbridge Gas New Brunswick, we think a lot about global changes – environmental, economic and technological – and how each impacts our families, friends and customers in New Brunswick.

Taking those big issues and identifying how New Brunswickers can convert those into opportunities for our businesses and our families is what I will be writing about here, with this blog. My goal is to share with you news and analysis about energy markets, green technologies and local community projects that create impact.

I think we can all be forgiven for not always seeing the bright side of things here in New Brunswick.  Over the last couple of years the news has been pretty brutal and we have all felt the downturn. But, you know what?  I don’t think this is the story of a province in decline; I believe it’s the story of a province in transition.

New Brunswick is changing and we must seize the opportunities these changes present to lay the foundations for the next economy. A vibrant, strong and diversified economy. To do that, we’ll need to rethink how we use and produce energy. We need to stop thinking of energy as a commodity and begin to use it as an enabler for innovation.   

The G7 countries recently made a commitment to be carbon free economies by the year 2100, requiring deep transformation in our energy sectors.  Renewables have gone mainstream – and natural gas is a part of that story. It is safe, dependable and climate-friendly.  It’s no surprise then, that natural gas has been named the perfect transition fuel as we move from the fossil fuel era to the renewable energy era.

That’s why Enbridge Inc. is accelerating its investments in renewable energy – $5 billion over the next five years in wind, solar, geothermal and hydro projects.  New Brunswick has the opportunity to be a leading example of how to manage our energy needs for the next economy that is emerging.

My first job after graduating from UNB was with NBTel, and I’ll tell you, one of the best lessons I learned there, was that business can be a force for good. NBTel, during that incredible decade in the 1990s, was recognized as the most innovative telecommunications company in the world. I got to see first-hand how New Brunswick ingenuity combined with outside knowledge from global corporate partners enabled this province to lead.

That experience showed me that a group of people, united by their passion for an idea and their commitment to make it happen, can reshape an economy. I see a lot of similarities between the telecommunications sector of the 1990s and today’s energy sector. Like the old telcos, today’s energy sector is going through a lot of changes. It’s why I took the job at Enbridge Gas New Brunswick – I love a good challenge.

And we have a great team to help solve it. Our employees are New Brunswickers, they live here and like all of you, they want to be part of building a strong economy for themselves and their families. Through our connection to Enbridge we bring deep knowledge of North American and world energy markets to New Brunswick.

As New Brunswickers, we must work together to innovate and help develop an open and diversified regional energy system that can support a variety of clean energy solutions.

Local ingenuity, outside knowledge and a passion to drive economic development and wealth creation in New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada.

It’s what we all want. Let’s get started.

Gilles Volpé
General Manager 
Enbridge Gas New Brunswick