Energy Manager

Provincial Incentives – what’s available for you


February 29, 2008  By  Rob Colman

Over the next few years, manufacturers across Canada can tap into a host of energy efficiency incentive programs. Many of these are available at the federal level, but opportunities are also offered across the country, by utilities and provincial governments. The following are just a few of the programs available today:

New Brunswick
In April of last year, New Brunswick’s Minister of Energy, Jack Keir, announced the creation of an energy efficiency program for large industry managed by Efficiency NB.

The program was created to assist New Brunswick’s 40 largest energy users to reduce their energy intensity. The program is taking a custom solutions approach focused on the energy efficiency priorities of individual industrial facilities.

“The program incorporates all energy services,” notes Elizabeth Weir, president and CEO of Efficiency NB. “Many other programs are targeted at electricity use or natural gas use alone, but we incorporate whatever use requires attention in the facility.”


The development of the program was carefully managed. “We really benefited from the results of a study conducted by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) in the province and Marbec Consultants,” Weir says. “This gave us details of energy use in this sector. We also provide incentive programs for commercial and residential customers but this study showed that industry demanded a different process.”

Efficiency NB’s program is based on four pillars that are meant to help build capacity in industry throughout the province. The services include:

  1. Audits and refined audits: Many companies have been offered quote-free audits in the past, says Weir, but they didn’t get the payback they were looking for. The new program offers unbiased advice.
  2. Capacity building: Energy managers had received training in system operations off-site, which meant things didn’t necessarily work as expected when they returned to their own operations, notes Weir. Now, energy managers are offered onsite training.
  3. De-risking the business case: The program helps people understand the savings that can be found in energy efficiency projects.
  4. Specified energy management information: Monitoring systems in some businesses are gathering plenty of information, but don’t necessarily gather the energy management information essential to help the business.

The new program will help businesses retrieve that information.

The program was effectively launched in July 2007. At press time, one agreement had been signed and six were in the works.

“Companies are all at different stages of their energy efficiency efforts,” says Weir. “But there’s not a single industrial player that couldn’t benefit from one of these programs.”

To enter the program, companies have to sign an implementation requirement agreement – funding is conditional on implementation.

This program is geared specifically to large industry. According to Weir, in the commercial sector, Efficiency NB is working on branching out their program to offer more incentives for smaller manufacturers.

For more information visit

Under its Empower Program for Industrial Systems, Hydro-Quebec grants eligible business customers up to $300,000 per project for the implementation of electricity management upgrades for industrial equipment, systems and processes.

The program assists in the implementation of energy-efficient equipment or processes that exceed the efficiency of basic standard equipment. The value is a reduced payback period on upgrading systems.

The program was designed for business customers of all kinds – small and medium-sized businesses, municipalities, and customers of municipal systems and off-grid systems – that use industrial equipment, systems or processes.  

Projects must be implemented before December 31, 2010.

Eligible projects include the creation of new production facilities and upgrading systems. Measures could cover a variety of industrial processes such as: pumps, drives, ventilation, compressed air, machine tools, lighting or refrigeration.

A completed application (the Document d’avant projet) must be sent to Hydro-Quebec before the start date. Eligible electricity savings of at least 25,000 kWh/year must be generated. All projects must entail capital spending. Several projects, however, can be carried out at the same location.

For more information visit

Both Enbridge Gas Distribution and Union Gas offer incentive programs for industrial facilities in Ontario.

Enbridge offers two levels of assistance: incentives to support energy audits, and incentives for implementation.

“An energy audit helps customers identify what energy efficiency opportunities there are, and what the costs are that they might incur,” says Harold Hayashi, director of industrial programs for Enbridge. “This really helps them prioritize which actions to tackle first. It basically helps them develop their energy plan.”

In January 2008, the incentive structure for assessments was changed. Up until that time, Enbridge would provide half the cost up to a maximum of $5,000. They have since made the decision to increase that limit to $10,000. It’s still half the cost, just a higher minimum.

Incentives for implementation are split into two levels.

“You get five cents a cubic metre based on the amount of gas saved if you implement one or two measures,” says Hayashi. “If you implement more measures, the incentive goes up to 10 cents a cubic metre of gas savings. This is a one-time payment based on the estimated savings in the annual savings. Once the project is in and operating, you get paid.”

This incentive maxes out at $30,000 per project, but businesses can apply for more than one project.

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