Minister Bains Announces Investment to Develop New Digital Grid Technologies and Expand Smart Grid Network 

News release

August 27, 2019 – Fredericton, NB – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Supporting innovation and clean growth is critical to growing a strong, adaptable, and diversified economy in Atlantic Canada. Sectors prioritizing investments in these areas help drive growth in their regions, create jobs, and improve the lives of all Canadians. With support from the Government of Canada, the University of New Brunswick (UNB) will develop new technologies and advance smart grid expertise, competitiveness, and industry presence in Atlantic Canada.

The University is undertaking a five-year research initiative to address the complex technical, regulatory, and social issues involved in moving from conventional electric power systems to digital, or smart, grids. The Atlantic Digital Grid project will result in a number of new tools and technologies for energy distribution, analysis, threat detection, infrastructure, and business modeling.  The Smart Grid Innovation Network (SGIN), established in partnership with NB Power and Siemens in 2015, is also expanding to support initiatives such as the Atlantic Digital Grid project, and build on UNB’s existing assets and expertise in energy management.

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), along with Matt DeCourcey, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and Member of Parliament for Fredericton, announced support for these projects today.

Support for this project is one way the Government of Canada is growing the innovation economy by working to advance projects that increase efficiency while minimizing the environmental costs of power-grid operations. Projects like this also contribute to the Atlantic Growth Strategy outcome of long-term economic prosperity in the region.

Quotes

“I am proud of our government’s support for UNB’s cutting-edge work in digital grid technologies. This investment will help increase business activity in Atlantic Canada’s cleantech sector and will put the region on the map as a leader in energy distribution, minimizing the economic and environmental costs of operations, and providing long-term rate stability for customers. All of this will boost economic growth and help to build a sustainable economy for future generations.”

-       The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

“The University of New Brunswick and the SGIN have been playing a leading role in the field of smart grids for several years. Our government’s investments in their growth will enable them to build on their momentum, collaborate with other leaders, and identify exciting new opportunities in this pivotal sector. We are very fortunate to have so much expertise brought together here in New Brunswick, working on important and innovative technologies that will support clean growth and a strong economy in our region.”

-       Matt DeCourcey, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and Member of Parliament for Fredericton

“New Brunswick is well positioned as a leader in energy innovation. By investing in the growing SGIN network, we are supporting the businesses here at home who are developing innovative energy products and services. This will attract new investment, help energize the private sector and drive economic growth.”

-       The Honourable Mary E. Wilson, Minister of Economic Development and Small Business and Minister responsible for Opportunities NB

“The emerging field of smart grid technology has the potential to transform the world’s power systems, and the University of New Brunswick is at the forefront of these innovations. The Atlantic Digital Grid project will join the Smart Grid Innovation Network and the Emera & NB Power Research Centre for Smart Grid Technologies to expand the innovation hub in our region, driving research and discovery and fuelling growth in the Atlantic Canadian economy.”

-     Dr. Paul Mazerolle, President, University of New Brunswick

Quick facts

  • ACOA is contributing $6,686,010 towards UNB’s Atlantic Digital Grid project through the Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF).

  • ACOA is also contributing $879,910 towards the SGIN project to hire expertise through the Regional Innovation Ecosystems stream of the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program, while the province of New Brunswick is contributing $200,000.

  • The Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) encourages partnerships among private sector firms, universities, colleges and other research institutions to develop and commercialize new or improved products and services.

  • The Regional Innovation Ecosystems stream of the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program supports the creation and growth of inclusive regional ecosystems that support business needs and fosters an entrepreneurial environment conducive to innovation, growth and competitiveness.

  • The AIF and REGI both build on the objectives of the Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs for the middle class and those working hard to join it.

Contacts

Danielle Keenan
Press Secretary 
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
613-301-8276

Ann Kenney
Senior Communications Officer
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
506-452-3687

Kelsey Pye
Communications Officer
University of New Brunswick
506-453-4508

Mary-Anne Hurley-Corbyn
Director of Communications
Province of New Brunswick
506-429-2624

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