Maritime Electric plans to cut emissions by 55%

Maritime Electric is taking steps to reach P.E.I.'s emissions targets by 2030. (Jane Robertson/CBC - image credit)
Maritime Electric is taking steps to reach P.E.I.'s emissions targets by 2030. (Jane Robertson/CBC - image credit)

Maritime Electric released its first sustainability report today.

In it, the company details plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent over the next eight years.

Jason Roberts, CEO of the utility, said the reduction will help the company meet Prince Edward Island's emissions goals.

"It's an ambitious target. We believe it's necessary to support the province's goal to net zero," he said.

"We think it's achievable. There's a lot of ways that we can get there and we've got some plans."

The bulk of the utility's current greenhouse gas emissions comes from buying energy off-Island and delivering it to customers on P.E.I.

Maritime Electric already buys all of the Island's wind energy from the P.E.I. Energy Corporation.

Roberts said the utility needs to find ways to produce more renewable energy on the Island. To reach its reduced emissions target, Roberts estimates the company will need approximately 100 megawatts of additional wind power and 120 megawatts of solar energy added to the grid by 2030.

"We are quite willing to make that investment and lead those projects," he said. "We're quite willing to work with community partners, First Nations, all levels of government. I think we all need to come together and work together to get to this level of renewables."

Maritime Electric also plans to fully replace its light-duty fleet — including pickup trucks and vans — with electric vehicles by 2032.

Kate McKenna/CBC
Kate McKenna/CBC

Roberts said the company is trying to approach sustainability in a way that balances the needs of customers, business and the environment.

"Is the transition to a cleaner, greener economy going to have an impact? It will," he said. "But the goal is to do that in a staged approach, in a reasonable, balanced approach so that it's not significantly impactful on customers."

Maritime Electric recently applied for a rate increase. If it's approved, it will be about a three per cent annual increase each year, for the next three years.

Roberts said the increase was requested to deal with inflation — not to pay to improve the utility's sustainability.

"Like every other business out there, coming out of the pandemic, we're seeing shortages or challenges in getting materials," he said.

"We're seeing inflationary pressures. We feel that at that three per cent level we're doing our best to keep it within traditional levels of inflation, and manage that adjustment for customers."