Electrical Business

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Nova Scotia regulations encourage community-based renewable energy projects


October 18, 2010
By Anthony Capkun

According to the Government of Nova Scotia, new energy regulations will help stabilize electricity costs for citizens while promoting a greener, more sustainable province for generations to come. The new regulations enable the province to increase the amount of renewable electricity produced in communities thereby helping government achieve the goals it set in its 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 (FIT) 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 online
application and approval system is scheduled to be in place by that
time). CLICK HERE for the website and preliminary guide detailing how to
participate.

Rates will vary for developmental tidal and community-based projects,
such as small-scale in-stream tidal, run-of-river hydro, and biomass
combined heat and power (CHP) systems. Wind projects will also face
different rates—one for projects over 50kW and another for micro-scale
projects under 50kW. This ensures a variety of community opportunities
and support development of Nova Scotia companies.

“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 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
regulations are expected 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.