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Annual Report

Reimagining the power grid using smart technologies

Advanced smart grid technologies are expected to revolutionize how the world consumes, produces and distributes electricity within the next decade. Researchers at the University of New Brunswick are at the forefront of this massive shift and emerging industry.

The Emera & NB Power Research Centre for Smart Grid Technologies and the Smart Grid Innovation Network are just two of the groups at UNB leading smart grid research and transforming how consumers use and create energy.

Research paving the way

The centre was launched in January 2017 with a $6.2-million investment from Emera – a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax. The contribution will support direct funding for smart grid research as well as the Emera Chair in Smart Grid Technologies at UNB.

The centre builds on decades of work carried out at UNB – by faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, and PhD and MSc students – and will work with industry partners such as Emera, Siemens and NB Power.

“Smart grid is the future of electrical power distribution,” says UNB President Dr. Eddy Campbell. “This is a compelling example of a strong academic-industry partnership that will fuel innovation and growth in the economy.”

Partnership with global reach

Smart grid refers to modern electricity systems that have high levels of renewable generation and reliability, and low levels of carbon emission. These modern electricity systems will reduce the frequency of power outages, empower consumers to manage energy use and allow power companies to take pre-emptive action before a system shows weakness.

A smart grid will have the ability to tap into more renewable energy sources, including offering consumers the ability to supply energy to the electric power system. It also enables the adoption of new technologies such as electric vehicles.

UNB has a unique combination of strengths in research, teaching and entrepreneurship that facilitates growth in this important sector of Canada’s economy. UNB is a founding partner of the Smart Grid Innovation Network, a collaboration between UNB, Siemens and NB Power with a mission to drive and support a smart grid ecosystem and enable the successful deployment of smart grid initiatives in New Brunswick. The Emera & NB Power Research Centre for Smart Grid Technologies will create new synergies and the opportunity to forge new research partnerships.

This is research that has a global impact. Over time, technologies developed at UNB with play a key role in advancing the transformation of conventional power grids around the world, creating a tangible difference every time you flick a light switch.