20. Nova Scotia's community power
Blog: Nova Scotia’s green energy plan puts community development, local investment and jobs front and centre
Tour the rolling countryside of Nova Scotia in the fall and it’s like driving right into a post card. The undulating hills are redolent with bright oranges and reds with the odd evergreen to change it up.
Head west of Truro and not only do you get this scenic drive but you’ll find Nuttby Mountain wind farm - the turbines popping up into view quite unexpectedly. It turns out those beautiful, treed hills also mean you don’t see wind farms from miles away.
I am here with Austen Hughes of Natural Forces, a community wind energy developer. We are here to stand in the shadows of wind turbines to talk about Nova Scotia’s community feed-in-tariff program. A program that supports smaller community scale wind and other renewable energy projects throughout Nova Scotia.
The transformation in Nova Scotia from burning dirty, unhealthy coal to cleaner, greener forms of energy has been remarkable. Since coming to power the NDP government of Darryl Dexter has reduced coal-fired electricity from about 85 per cent of the electricity mix to 56 per cent today. A 75 per cent increase in coal costs was a motivator, but local jobs and investment and positive effects on the environment were the icing on the cake.
Nova Scotia is in the midst of the one of the most aggressive energy transitions in North America. “We are moving from having 15 per cent of our electricity come from renewables when we came to power to having 25 per cent by 2015 and 40 per cent renewables by 2020.” More…
Video: Nova Scotia's community feed-in tariff involves locals in the financial benefits of renewables
Podcast: Nova Scotia takes a community-based approach to renewable energy
When Nova Scotia instituted its own version of the now legendary feed-in tariff well, you knew it was going to get its own community minded spin. This was a place that had cooperatives before it joined Confederation. The Antigonish Movement was a turn of the century micro-finance and community development initiative that was way ahead of Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus and Grameen bank. Nova Scotia's community feed-in tariff is an intriguing policy and we went to the Maritime province to get the skinny just on how this new policy is working.
The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board set the rates in September, 2011, taking into consideration basic cost recovery and a reasonable return on investment for each technology type.
These rates were set after extensive expert and public consultation. The rates are:
- Wind, 50 kW or less: 49.9¢ per kWh
- Wind, > 50 kW: 13.1¢per kWh
- Run-of-the-river hydro: 14.0¢per kWh
- In-stream tidal: 65.2¢per kWh
- CHP biomass: 17.5¢per kWh
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Nova Scotia's renewable energy plan
Find out just how Nova Scotia is going get to 40 per cent renewables by 2020. GO >
Community feed-in tariff frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions on Nova Scotia's community feed-in tariff program GO >
COMFIT Review Backgrounder
All the background details you need on Nova Scotia's community feed-in tariff program GO >