The government's plan enshrines a target of 25% renewables by 2015 in law and sets a longer term unlegislated goal of 40% by 2020.
The province, one of a handful of Canadian jurisdictions heavily dependent on coal for their electricity supply, currently gets about 11% of its power from hydro, wind, biomass and tidal sources.
Dexter says the move away from imported fossil-based electricity towards greener local sources is key to the province's economic future.
"We are a province and an economy which is currently so heavily dependent on fossil fuels that if we do not make the conversion, then we run the real risk that as we see carbon-based tariffs come into place in other parts of the world, our economy will become uncompetitive," he told a news conference.
The province will reach its 2015 target with a combination of larger-scale projects, developed by both Nova Scotia power and private producers, and smaller community-based projects procured through a yet-to-be-developed feed-in tariff program.
It is still considering its options for reaching the 2020 goal, although the 32-page document outlining its strategy says "it seems likely that the largest portion of new renewable energy in 2020 will come from wind."
The plan also promises further analysis of transmission upgrades needed to integrate new renewable energy generation, including increasing interconnection capacity with other markets.