New regulations for Nova Scotia renewable projects
New energy regulations will help stabilize electricity costs for Nova Scotians, while promoting a greener, more sustainable province for generations to come, according to a Government of Nova Scotia news release.
The new regulations, says the government, will enable the province to increase the amount of renewable electricity produced in communities across Nova Scotia, to help government achieve the goals it set in the province’s new Renewable Electricity Plan.
“These regulations are another step towards implementing some of the most aggressive renewable energy goals in the world,” said Premier Darrell Dexter. “These greener, local projects will help to create good jobs, provide a better future for Nova Scotians and reduce our overall dependence on imported carbon-based sources. This will help stabilize electricity prices over the long term and improve the environment.”
The Renewable Electricity Regulations follow a consultation process that determined eligible technologies and who would qualify for a community-based feed-in tariff program, which involves a fixed pricing structure for renewable electricity production.
The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board will immediately begin the process of setting rates for community-based feed-in projects, with a hearing in the new year and a decision expected by spring. An on-line application and approval system is scheduled to be in place in the spring. A website and preliminary guide detailing how to participate is available at www.nsrenewables.ca.
Rates will vary for developmental tidal projects and community-based projects such as small-scale in-stream tidal, run-of-the-river hydroelectricity, and biomass combined heat and power systems. Wind projects will also face different rates—one for projects over 50 kW and another for micro-scale projects less than 50 kW. This ensures a variety of community opportunities and support development of Nova Scotia companies, says the government.
“The new regulations are an exciting step forward for Nova Scotia, and it should help our company build its wind turbine business both locally and globally,” said Jonathan Barry, President of Seaforth Energy. “The ability of Nova Scotians and businesses to participate in community energy will help us to scale up our operations, research and development, and manufacturing, and will make us more competitive globally.”
“The new Renewable Electricity Regulations are very important in helping provide us with direction to move forward with the implementation of our Regional Energy Strategy for Cumberland County,” said Shawna Eason, Cumberland County energy officer. “Our strategic priorities, especially wind energy development of both large scale and community projects, will benefit from the COMFIT program, helping us to increase the amount of sustainable, clean energy generated in Cumberland County.”
The regulations put the Renewable Electricity Plan into action and puts Nova Scotia on course to reach its target of 25% of renewable electricity supply by 2015 and a goal of 40% by 2020. The government says the new regulations provide opportunities for combined heat and power projects, where a proponent has direct access to a biofuel source, such as sawmills, farms and greenhouses.
Medium to large-scale renewable electricity projects by independent power producers will be subject to a competitive bidding process overseen by a renewable electricity administrator who will set rates. Talks are continuing between the province and the Mi'kmaq to encourage the development of renewable electricity projects on First Nations. The government expects the regulations to be amended to incorporate agreements reached.
The province will review and analyze the progress of the Renewable Electricity Plan, with a special focus on the COMFIT program, within 18 months of implementation to determine whether the regulations are achieving its goals.
October 15, 2010 By John Gilson
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