What is an energy hub?

For me a picture is worth a thousand words. Yestersday, Rodney Macdonald standing in front of a graphic showing traditional energy (oil & gas) and how it is so important to Nova Scotia’s future – and announcing upwards of $15 million in investment into tidal energy – R&D and generation.

An energy hub should be about leverage a core base of assets into a serious industry growth strategy and it should be about trying to grab on to the areas that have the most opportunity. Nova Scotia’s core asset is offshore gas. It is attempting to building on that foundation with LNG (stalled), wind and tidal. It is also trying to position Halifax for support services to the industry.

I think New Brunswick should be taking the same approach. Leveraging some core assets into wider growth opportunities. Whether you like the LNG, refinery, Lepreau II or not, I think we can all agree that there are far broader opportunities in the energy industry more generally and that should be part of the mix. We are already among the slowest to adopt wind energy (although in typical New Brunswick style they are calling for a massive infusion – playing catch up) and other alternative energy is also very limited in the province.

But even on the traditional energy side, I have been calling for some intelligent thinking around how that can be used to give New Brunswick a competitive advantage. Instead of just shipping oil, natural gas and electricity to New England for economic development uses down there, is there opportunity here?