Le Centre Falls Brook a fait la première démonstration au
Nouveau-Brunswick de vente au réseau électrique d'énergie solaire et
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.
In New Brunswick
Renewable Energy Program Coordinator
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.
(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
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.