Government energy announcement lacks crucial details, expert says
The government plans to invest $234 million in energy efficiency projects over the next five years
An expert in energy efficiency said the government's $234 million announcement for energy projects is a step in the right direction but more transparency is needed.
In an announcement Monday, the government committed a total $234 million over five years for energy retrofits and renewable energy upgrades.
The money included: $82 million from NB Power, $51 million from the federal government through the Low Carbon Economy Fund, and $101 million from the provincial government.
In a statement by the Department of Environment and Local Government the money would be used for 'enhanced' programs for homeowners, businesses and government buildings. The statement said more specific details about those projects would be available in the coming months.
Louise Comeau, director of the Environment and Sustainable Development Research Centre at the University of New Brunswick said there is a lot that can be done with this investment.
"You could accomplish all kinds of good things," she said. "But we were really not given much detail today."
She said the government has to plan very carefully what they do with the money.
"So you have develop a strategy," said Comeau. "We really could use more attention to ways in which we can save energy."
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Comeau said she hopes more details will emerge soon. She feels it was a strategy by the government is to roll it out in a less confusing way.
"If you are a homeowner or a businesses owner or a commercial operation and you want to make your business more energy efficient , you probably wanted to know 'who do I call?' "
The Department of Environment and Local Government did not respond to CBC's request for an interview.
New Brunswick behind
Despite this announcement, Comeau said New Brunswick is behind its efforts to establish energy efficiency.
She said there's a history of aging infrastructure and lack of programs for renewable energy.
"We are very far behind," Comeau said.
She said leaders in energy efficiency commit a certain per cent of their sales to energy efficiency investments.
Comeau said the province's U.S. trading partners, particularly in Massachusetts, commit three per cent of sales that goes into energy efficiency investment projects.
"In the last numbers I had, about two years ago, I think we were at about a half a per cent," she said.
Comeau said that is very low.
"We have a lot of catching up to do."
Comeau is hopeful this investment, if done correctly, will help.