New Brunswick RPS put on hold

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The New Brunswick government is putting on hold a recommendation to implement a renewables portfolio standard (RPS) in the Canadian province until it works out its climate change action plan. The RPS proposal was made by the province's Market Design Committee (MDC), which was appointed to help write the rules for a competitive electricity market in New Brunswick. The government plans to introduce competition at the wholesale and large industrial retail levels beginning in April 2003. While energy minister Jeannot Volpé accepted most of the MDC's 95 recommendations, he separated out several dealing with environmental issues, including the RPS, for further discussion. "These will be considered in conjunction with New Brunswick's pending climate change action plan," says the government. That plan is due by the end of the year. David Coon of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick criticises the decision to withhold approval for the "one substantive recommendation" that would foster new renewable energy in the province as "an abuse of the multi-stakeholder process." He points out that the report represents a consensus among the MDC's industry, environmental, utility and government representatives. "By taking this ham-fisted approach to the recommendations of the MDC we can only assume that the province is responding to a concerted lobby from private interests against a renewable portfolio standard for New Brunswick," Coon says. The government did accept recommendations to allow net metering for generation with a capacity of 100 kW or less, and adopt interconnection standards that accommodate embedded generation.

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