Workshop – Fighting Climate Change with Smart Energy

The Smart Grid Innovation Network, in collaboration with the Atlantica Centre for Energy and the Frank McKenna Centre for Communications and Public Policy at STU co-hosted a session on December 4th called Finding Common Ground: Fighting Climate Change with Smart Energy”.

Nearly 80 attendees from all areas of the energy ecosystem, including representatives from government, utilities, the business community, technology vendors, media, engineering, NGO/non-profits, and economic development agencies were present for this event.

After an evening of presentations and discussions, the following are some of the major points emphasized by the speakers and participants:

  • The time to act is now, but we need to do it in a way that is technically smart and engages consumers in the way they want to be engaged.
  • There is an abundance of “free fuel” in solar, wind, tidal, and other renewable resources but it is highly variable and our legacy electrical system was not designed to handle high penetration of such variable sources.
  • The technology is available to manage this new greener grid but is widely misunderstood and utilities need to do a better job in helping consumers understand the benefits.
  • if we wish to transition our energy mix to secure a low carbon future we will all need to make decisions differently in our personal and professional endeavors.

At the end of the event, a question was posed to the group: “What is the one activity that could accelerate the clean energy transition?”, and about half the audience offered suggestions. Education was the clear front-runner with 60% of the recommendations in this category: educating consumers, the regulator, and government officials on the urgent need for smart energy solutions and climate change action, and turning up the volume on the voice of the “silent majority” to ensure policymakers understand that most consumers want the benefits that clean technology and grid modernization are bringing to other jurisdictions. Specific ideas included enlisting the support of consumer advocacy groups and credible experts, encouraging consumers to replace cars powered by fossil fuels with hybrid or electric vehicles, promoting in-home energy-saving devices, and initiating programs to educate and motivate young people to push for change.

The next categories of recommendations (31%) advocated for a favorable policy environment and changing the mandate of the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board to ensure grid modernization and moving forward with investments in smart energy and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI).  There is an unmistakable appetite for further collaboration.

For further details about the topics covered during this evening, please see the SECC Presentation Dec 4 2019 – Fighting Climate Change presentation made by Patty Durand’s at the event:

SGIN is looking forward to working with all organizations to find common ground and move provinces and the federal government towards a smart and low-carbon energy future.

The Smart Grid Innovation Network

Fighting Climate Change with Smart Grid Energy Workshop