Nova Scotia began to accelerate its deployment of renewable energy after adopting the Renewable Energy Standard (RES) in 2007, which mandated that 40% of Nova Scotia’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2020 (Nova Scotia Power, 2015b). The same year Nova Scotia adopted RES, the Department of Energy introduced the Renewable Electricity Plan outlining mechanisms for encouraging development and amended aspects of the province’s electricity legislation and regulations accordingly.
Nova Scotia has a variety of abundant renewable energy resources including wind, tidal, and biomass. With the world’s highest and fastest-flowing tides, the Bay of Fundy is a promising site for marine energy development, as are most of Nova Scotia’s offshore waters. The Nova Scotia government estimates that 2,500 MW of tidal energy could be harnessed without adversely affecting the marine environment although initial procurement targets are modest at 15-20 MW.
The climatic influence of the Atlantic Ocean also provides Nova Scotia with very favourable conditions for the development of wind power projects. Currently there is almost 400 MW of wind in operation with commitments for another ~150 MW in the pipeline [i].
In addition, there are several hydroelectric dams in operation, the largest being the 200 MW Wreck Cove generating station in Cape Breton, which supplies ~7.5 % of Nova Scotia’s power. While the province’s maritime climate renders solar power generation less suitable, both solar home and water heating is viable and becoming more common.
Several bioenergy facilities generating power from forestry-related biomass, agricultural residues, and other organic based materials, are in operation or development[ii]. However, the future of biomass is uncertain due to public pressure over rising electricity rates. Several biomass projects are currently under review by the Department of Energy to assess their economic impact[iii].
Over the last decade, Nova Scotia has implemented a range of incentives for renewable energy adoption, although key programs like the ComFIT are no longer active:
[i] Government of Nova Scotia. Electricity System Review: Final Report, April 30, 2015. Retrieved 31 Aug 2015 from http://energy.novascotia.ca/electricity/electricity-system-review
[ii] Withers, P. “Nova Scotia biomass projects in 2016 could be halted”, CBC News, 26 Aug 2015. Retrieved 6 Sept 2015 from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/nova-scotia-biomass-projects-in-2016-could-be-halted-1.3203851
[iii] Withers, P. “Nova Scotia biomass projects in 2016 could be halted”, CBC News, 26 Aug 2015. Retrieved 6 Sept 2015 from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/nova-scotia-biomass-projects-in-2016-could-be-halted-1.3203851
[iv] Nova Scotia Power. 2015b. Renewable Electricity and Emissions Regulations. Retrieved 2 Sept 2015 from http://www.nspower.ca/en/home/about-us/how-we-make-electricity/renewable-electricity-emissions-regs.aspx
[v] Nova Scotia Power. 2015b. Renewable Electricity and Emissions Regulations. Retrieved 2 Sept 2015 from http://www.nspower.ca/en/home/about-us/how-we-make-electricity/renewable-electricity-emissions-regs.aspx
Header Photo source: Dennis Jarvis.