May 17, 2004

NB enlists consultant to help develop renewable portfolio standard regulation

FREDERICTON, NB-The New Brunswick Department of Energy has hired Synapse Energy, a Massachusetts research and consulting firm specializing in energy, economic, and environmental issues, to map out the province's Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). The RPS will require, through legislation, that a certain percentage of annual electricity supply come from renewable energy sources. While wind energy is the most advanced in respect of cost competitiveness, other renewable energy forms will be eligible under the standards, such as small hydro and solar.

Energy Minister Bruce Fitch said establishing the renewable standards will go a long way toward helping the environment and developing cleaner methods of producing electricity for New Brunswick. Synapse Energy is a recognized leader in this field and has helped several U.S. jurisdictions create RPS regulations. Synapse Energy will examine the energy sector in the province and help establish a base level or minimum requirement to be met by distribution utilities selling to customers in New Brunswick. The work will determine which types of alternative energy will meet RPS requirements, which are compatible with neighbouring jurisdictions, and how the plan can be implemented while taking into consideration the economic realities in the province's energy sector. The process includes consultations with parties to be affected by the regulation such as distribution utilities and wind power developers. The regulation is expected to be in place by early 2005.

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