The challenge to meet climate goals now just eight years away is sinking in for more people, governments and organizations in Atlantic Canada.

In a year-end interview with the online news site Huddle in late December, Atlantica Centre for Energy President Colleen d’Entremont said awareness about the need to act grew in 2021.

“It’s becoming real,” she said. “Prior to this year, it was sort of theoretical and it was planning, and it’s going to come at some point, and this year it became real. People started seeing price shocks and changes in availability, changes in the price of energy. It was very exciting for some people and very scary for others.”

She said the next eight years will be about individuals changing their behaviour.

There is a lot of optimism in d’Entremont’s outlook for the coming years. She says there is a great deal of innovation happening, especially in terms of the small modular reactors that are being developed and the growing interest in hydrogen as an energy source.

“The public, academia, proponents, government – they all combined in their efforts during 2021 to try and harness the potential for hydrogen as part of the clean energy solution going forward,” she said.

While there has been a lot of focus in past years on the clean side of renewable energy, d’Entremont believes the coming years will involve more attention to safety, reliability and affordability.

“There are so many really exciting things that are just getting underway that if we can leverage them, New Brunswick and the rest of Atlantic Canada are going to be in for some really good times.”