Despite its relative lack of on-island hydro and biomass resources, PEI’s excellent wind regime has allowed it to generate a substantial portion of its electricity from renewable energy. The first commercial wind farm in the Maritimes was installed in North Cape in 2001 by the government-owned PEI Energy Corporation. Today, the province hosts seven wind farms, which have a total installed capacity of 204 MW. Approximately half of wind farms in PEI are government owned, and the other half are owned and operated by private companies.
Among the first provinces to establish a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), PEI’s first regulations to boost domestic renewable generation required that utilities acquire 15% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2010. In 2008, the RPS was doubled to 30% by 2013 and the government set a target of 500 MW of wind energy to be installed by 2013[i]. As indicated above, PEI has missed its wind target and the province has not indicated whether a new target will be established once the first is achieved.
In 2004, PEI adopted a Renewable Energy Act through which it implemented a modest tariff of 7.8 cents per kWh to encourage renewable energy development. Participants in the program signed 20-year contracts with Maritime Electric[ii]. Renewable energy systems were also exempted from provincial sales tax; however, this exemption was revoked in 2013.
Currently, Maritime Electric’s net metering program is the only mechanism available to customers who want to offset a portion or their electricity load from small-scale renewable energy generation (<100 kW). Through the program, excess energy generated is credited at the same price paid for power purchased from the utility.
[i] Department of Environment, Energy and Forestry, (N.D) Prince Edward Island Energy Strategy, Securing our future: Energy efficiency and conservation, Retrieved from: http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/env_snergystr.pdf
[ii] Gipe P. “Prince Edward Island Feed Law”, January 1, 2006. Retrieved 19 Oct 2015 from http://www.wind-works.org/cms/index.php?id=363&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=1064&cHash=56670099497f343b1c06743c8d50698f