New Reports Will Help Nova Scotia Meet Renewable Targets

In July, the province announced its goal of meeting 25 per cent of the province’s electricity needs through renewable sources by 2015.

The province asked David Wheeler, former dean of Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Management, to lead an extensive consultation process and report back.

"We have the resources right here in our own backyard to create jobs, stabilize prices, protect the environment and make Nova Scotia more competitive over the long term," said Energy Minister Bill Estabrooks.

"Dr. Wheeler’s report reflects the opinions of hundreds of individuals and groups who took the time to share their opinions about how best we can do that, and I’m deeply grateful for their participation."

The final report includes 25 recommendations and examined the implications of meeting the 2015 target.

"Thanks to the goodwill, creativity and shared vision of hundreds of stakeholders, we believe we have a number of actions that minimize risks and costs, while optimizing conditions for a dramatic shift away from the province’s dependency on carbon-intensive fossil fuels such as coal and oil," said Mr. Wheeler

"The report envisages significant benefits for Nova Scotians through the active involvement of communities and renewable energy developers of all types, most notably developers of wind, biomass and ocean energy."

The province also commissioned a study that outlines possible future options to upgrade its transmission system. The study provides a baseline overview of possible upgrades, both inside the province and with neighbouring regions. It also looks at system operator alternatives, such as a single regional operator able to balance electricity supply and demand across several provincial systems.

"Nova Scotians want more clean energy, and a stronger power grid can help deliver it," said Mr. Estabrooks. "This independent transmission study, as well as the work by Dr. Wheeler, will help shape the plan to get us to 2015."

The transmission and system operator study was conducted by Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin.

"This is an admirable initiative on the part of the government of Nova Scotia," said Patrick Lamarre, executive vice-president, SNC-Lavalin. "We are pleased to have been involved in this important study to help promote renewable energy in Atlantic Canada."

That goals for 2015 should embrace very early approval of:

*1300 GWh of energy generation through wind energy projects, of which ~1000 GWh are likely to be wind power large scale and 300 GWh could be community scale;

• 500 GWh of energy generation through biomass projects, to include co-firing of coal plants, large scale biomass as part of cogeneration projects, and community level biomass as part of cogeneration projects.

Both reports will help develop government’s Renewable Energy Strategy, to be rolled out this spring.