Amit Virmani, Founder and CEO of Fredericton-based Naveco Power, along with Ryan Mitchell, Vice-President and CDO of Saint John Energy, have made Canada’s Clean50 leaders for 2021.

The Clean50 awards are announced annually by Delta Management Group and the Clean50 organization, They celebrate individuals or small teams across 16 categories who have excelled at advancing the cause of sustainability and clean capitalism in Canada.

“There is no vaccine for climate change but these remarkable Canadian leaders provide some hope we can find ways to slow it down, and also ensure Canada is positioned for the low-carbon economy,” Gavin Pitchford, award founder and Clean50 Executive Director, said in a statement.

Naveco Power specializes in solar installation, wind power, and energy-efficient projects. Virmani said it has been a difficult year to be the CEO of a small business, but Naveco has continued to grow.

Pitchford said Virmani and his team are leading the development of New Brunswick’s first locally developed and owned wind farm, a $40 million project that will produce enough energy to power nearly 9,000 homes and reduce 47,937 tonnes of CO2. 

“Being owned by the community it services, all environmental, economic, and community benefits stay in New Brunswick, including the creation of over 100 jobs during the construction phase and an additional 10 to maintain the turbines over the next 30 years," he added.

Ray Robinson, president and CEO of Saint John Energy, said Mitchell is a leader with integrity, dedicated to the community, while Mitchell said the award belongs to the team at Saint John Energy

Pitchford said Mitchell is championing a strategy of innovation-driven growth and the pursuit of cleaner energy. The centrepiece is the creation of a smart grid driven by artificial intelligence, he added.

“The sophisticated, $13 million power grid bolsters efficiency, curbs GHG emissions, and ties in a significant injection of renewable energy. The project aims to smooth peaks in energy demand and involved the world’s first installation of a Tesla Megapack battery,” Pitchford said.

“Saint John Energy also spearheaded the Burchill Wind Project, enabling them to provide about 15 percent of the power needs for the city while saving millions of dollars a year in energy purchasing costs.” 

The statement said that every year the task of choosing contest winners grows harder. A record number of nominees – more than 900 – were considered this year.

The full list of winners includes the young leaders of two different organizations that are producing fresh produce in northern indigenous communities, as well as the leading producer of electric buses in North America, and leaders from large financial institutions who are finding ways to leverage capital to enable a low carbon transition.

Pitchford, who is also CEO of Delta Management Group, said, assuming that COVID restrictions have been relaxed, about 120 past and incoming Clean50 honourees will gather at the Clean50 Summit 10.0 in Toronto on Sept. 30 to spend a day tackling critical sustainability challenges.