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N.B. Opposition Parties Support Bill To Give Municipalities More Power To Use Renewable Energy

Green Party of New Brunswick Leader David Coon speaks to the media following the Throne Speech at the New Brunswick Legislature in Fredericton on October 23, 2018. (Image: The Canadian Press/James West)

FREDERICTON — New Brunswick’s Green Party is pushing to increase the amount of renewable energy produced by municipal governments and First Nations, with the support of the leader of the People’s Alliance.

The plan — which passed second reading on Thursday — would amend the Electricity Act to allow local governments and First Nations to partner with local renewable energy power producers.

So far, the Green bill has passed with support of the Liberals and People’s Alliance Leader Kris Austin.

A party spokesperson says the People’s Alliance has committed to support the Tory government on confidence motions and budget legislation, but says its members “are free to vote as they choose on anything that isn’t a confidence matter.”

As currently proposed the bill would allow municipal and First Nation governments to create partnerships with local renewable power producers, while in the past they had to operate through the utility, NB Power.

In addition, the legislation would permit publicly owned municipal distribution utilities in Saint John, Edmundston and Perth-Andover to secure electric power directly from local renewable power producers outside their municipal boundaries.

Several municipalities have stated that key sites for potential renewables are slightly outside of their formal boundaries.

The proposed bill still has to go to committee and final reading before passing.

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The Canadian Press