Atlantica recently interviewed Amy Pellerin, Director of Canadian Developments for Natural Forces, to learn more about the business’ operations in the Maritimes and elsewhere in the world.

Q. Please tell us about Natural Forces. What do you do in the energy sector?

A. Natural Forces is a privately owned power producer that collaborates with local communities to create renewable energy projects. We specialize in developing, constructing, owning, and operating wind, solar, and hydro projects, partnering with Indigenous communities, universities, municipalities, and local economic development funds.

We were founded in 2001 when development began for New Brunswick’s first wind farm – the Kent Hills Wind Farm – and remained a small team operating out of Atlantic Canada for many years. However lately with the strong interest in renewable energy, the team has grown considerably including offices in Halifax, Quispamsis, New York State, Ireland, and France.

Our goal is to fight the climate change crisis by establishing genuine equity partnerships with communities for our renewable energy initiatives. We are committed to promoting a more sustainable way of life to ensure a prosperous future for generations to come. Our mission is accomplished through the people we collaborate with, the projects we construct, and the partnerships we form.

Q. How do you collaborate with First Nations partners? What successes has this business model provided?

A. To Natural Forces, building true, meaningful partnerships is integral to the success of our projects. We understand that it takes time to build trusting relationships that will sustain the lifespan of the projects. This can only be done with a deep understanding and alignment of each partners goals, experiences, and values, as well as honesty and respect.

We create partnerships where both partners work together as equals to make decisions and to celebrate in the successes of the project. By bringing together different perspectives, we were able to make better and more well-rounded decisions. This partnership model ultimately helps us build better projects, as diverse viewpoints and expertise blended together to create a more comprehensive and successful outcome.

Along with our project partners, we have been able to build and commission 15 successful wind and solar projects using this model, 11 of which are located in the Atlantic provinces.

Amy Pellerin, Director, Canadian Developments

Q. What role will private renewables developers play in Atlantic Canada’s energy transition?

A. The wind industry in Atlantic Canada is growing especially with the need for additional energy as we continue to move towards decarbonizing the electrical grids and building green industries.

Renewable energy developers will play a big role in helping with these goals as we will be responsible for securing and deploying additional renewable energy projects to meet this demand in the next few years.

We’re seeing governments announce high targets for new wind such as Nova Scotia’s clean power plan which calls for an additional 1,000 MW of onshore wind by 2030 and New Brunswick looking to replace the 450 MW of coal power in the province.

Through programs such as New Brunswick’s Request for Expression of Interest earlier in 2023, and Nova Scotia’s Green Choice Program being launched later this year, renewable energy developers in the region will be busy in 2024 and beyond. With these programs along with new ones to follow, there will be great opportunities for First Nation’s and other community groups to get involved in the industry through partnerships with developers.

Also, private developers will create job opportunities and boost the local economy by hiring workers for the construction, operations, and maintenance of renewable energy infrastructure. They will also contribute to skill development and knowledge transfer in the local workforce.

Q. What does the future look like for Natural Forces?

A. As mentioned previously, Natural Forces has grown a lot in the last few years. We’ve taken the experience built in in Atlantic Canada and expanded into new markets such as France and Ireland as well as New York State.

Atlantic Canada has been an exceptional place to develop these skills as we have excellent talent being develop through our local universities, and colleges with specialized programs geared towards the renewable energy industry. We have also found that our approach to developing meaningful relationships is almost innate to folks in Atlantic Canada and it is something that really resonates with our partners and those who work with us abroad as well.

The workforce in Atlantic Canada is eager to transition to a cleaner energy future and we are truly very grateful to be able to work in this region.

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