Fire / Feu

Vendre au
électrique au

Le Centre Falls Brook a fait la première démonstration au Nouveau-Brunswick de vente au réseau électrique d'énergie solaire et éolienne.

La vente au réseau est une façon pour les propriétaires, les familles, les fermiers et les entrepreneurs de générer leur propre électricité renouvelable à partir de sources comme le soleil, le vent et l'eau et d'échanger cette énergie avec le réseau électrique.

Net Metering
In New Brunswick

Michael Westlake
Renewable Energy Program Coordinator
Falls Brook Centre
July 2004

Ialls Brook Centre has recently completed New Brunswick's first demonstration of net metering of solar and wind energy in New Brunswick. Net metering is a way for home-owners, families, farmers, and business people to generate their own renewable electricity from sources like solar, wind, and water, and to trade the power back and forth with the utility grid.

(photo: Falls Brook Centre)

At the Falls Brook Centre demonstration site, the net-metered solar power system began operating in February of 2004, and the wind turbine has just been started up in early May. On windy and sunny days, the system provides power to the house and any surplus goes out through the power meter onto the grid. When there is no wind or sun, power flows back in from the grid to supply the house, so there no need for batteries to store the solar and wind energy. The principle of net metering is that the power bill at the end of the month is based on the net difference between the amount of energy used in the house and the amount produced by the wind and sun.

The main benefits of renewable energy systems like this one are the reduction in air pollution from electricity generation and the conservation of non-renewable fossil fuel resources. At present, almost half the electricity used in New Brunswick comes from burning fossil fuels, with the rest made up from nuclear power, hydroelectricity, and a small amount of imported power. Increases in renewable energy supply are an important part of improving the environment and delaying future fuel shortages.

Windmill Raising

(photo: Falls Brook Centre)

On the technical side, the solar power system has operated flawlessly, contributing over 200 kilowatt-hours of electricity to the demonstration site. The wind turbine, however, developed an electrical problem in its second week of operation and is currently under repair as of July 9. We are working with Southwest Windpower to supply a replacement part under warranty. We expect that the turbine will be operating again by July 30, and we hope that it will operate continuously from that point on with annual maintenance. It is projected that once the system is again in full operation it will produce approximately 5500 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions of approximately three tonnes per year.

Interest in renewable energy is growing, and Falls Brook Centre has received numerous calls from people who would like to put up net metered wind turbines on their farms. We want to promote this clean technology and help these interested people go ahead with renewable energy projects. However, so far there is no clear provincial policy and procedure for people to follow to get permission to connect these systems.

New Brunswick Power has been supportive of our demonstration project. In addition, two other net metering demonstration projects are scheduled to start up in New Brunswick this year: one in Dorchester and one at the Briggs and Little Wool Mill. We hope that the experience gained in these projects will lead to a simplified application process for the general public who want to install net metering renewable energy systems.

In our neighbouring province of Nova Scotia, there is a clear application process that an individual can go through with Nova Scotia Power to start a net metering arrangement. If the application is complete and meets certain criteria and regulations, the utility must allow the customer to hook up a net metered renewable energy system. We think that clear guidelines and an application process for net metering should be available here in New Brunswick too. Falls Brook Centre will be asking the New Brunswick Department of Energy to address this issue.

You can contact Falls Brook Centre for an appointment if you have questions about renewable energy or would like to see how the net metered renewable energy system works.