Canada

Canada

Nova Scotia sets renewables target -- Province energises role for wind

The Nova Scotia government has released a new energy strategy setting a short term voluntary renewables target of 2.5% of the province's generating capacity and promising a longer term mandatory Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS). This will set a minimum level for the proportion of renewables in the electricity supply portfolio. Wind presents the "best opportunity" for new utility scale generation, states the strategy. "Given an appropriate regulatory framework, wind has the potential to add a new dimension to our energy sector."

About 77% of the Atlantic province's electricity supply is generated from coal and another 12% from oil. "Increasing the amount of renewable energy in our portfolio will have environmental benefits, and will help position the province for a future in which reliance on fossil fuel sources will inevitably decrease," says the document.

The new voluntary target is equivalent to about 50 MW of generating capacity and will be met by independent power producers. The government and Nova Scotia Power, the province's monopoly utility, plan to monitor the target for three years before establishing an RPS.

NS Power is already evaluating proposals from developers for 50 MW of wind generation and is in the process finalising a site for two 600 kW wind turbines. The new policy, says the strategy document, is designed to build on these plans. A potential of 100 MW of wind is identified for this decade.

In addition to the voluntary renewables target, the strategy lays out the government's plan for the gradual introduction of a competitive electricity market. Among the initiatives is a plan to give Nova Scotia based renewable energy producers open access to NS Power's transmission system and allow them to market green power directly to retail customers.

Provincial action

The province will become a renewable energy customer itself, promising to pay a green premium for at least 20% of the electricity used in its public buildings and encouraging municipalities and public sector agencies to do the same.

Wind lobbyists have welcomed the strategy from the province. "The Nova Scotia government has clearly recognised the enormous potential for wind energy within its jurisdiction and has clearly placed a priority on its rapid development," says Fred Gallagher, past president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).

Canada's federal government recently announced a C$0.012/kWh production based incentive for wind power -- with the expectation that the provinces will play their part too (Windpower Monthly, January 2002). CanWEA argues that the provinces will need to implement policies like renewable portfolio standards and government green power purchases if the country's wind industry is to meet its goal of 10,000 MW of installed wind capacity by 2010.

Nova Scotia's new emphasis on wind is timely, adds CanWEA president Guy Pain

chaud, given the federal commitment. "The Nova Scotia government sets the stage to capitalise on the arrival of a high growth, labour intensive industry while reaping the full environmental benefits associated with an emission free source of energy."

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