Electricity generation in Nova Scotia
Avg. price: 12.9¢/kWh (9th-lowest among provinces)
2010 capacity: 2,498 MW 2020 forecast capacity: 2,745 MW
Peak use (2011 forecast): 2,213 MW
Cross-border trade: Imports 294 gigawatt-hours (costs $18.4 million)
GHG intensity rank: 1st (highest)
GHG emissions goal: 10% below 1990 levels by 2020
Green targets: 25% power from new renewable sources by 2015, 40% by 2020
Nova Scotia has aggressive green goals and the policies to implement them — but it also has far to go to achieve them. The province's electricity is the dirtiest in the country, measured per megawatt of capacity. Nearly 90 per cent of the province's electricity comes from fossil fuels, with most of that from coal.
Do you want to know how much you'll be paying for electricity in 2020? Try the provincial cost calculator.
On the flip side, the province is one of the few to impose caps on electricity-sector greenhouse gas emissions. It has also rolled out aggressive conservation tactics, such as stricter codes for new buildings and standards for electrical appliances. As a result, after five years of increasing power demands, the province is actually forecast to cut its peak electrical use an average of 0.8 per cent annually from 2011 to 2020.
In an effort to smooth out demands on the grid even more and avoid having to build new power plants, Nova Scotia has also implemented time-of-day pricing, which ranges from six cents a kilowatt-hour on weekends and at night, to 15 cents per kWh during daytime peaks. It is pushing home heating systems that take advantage of those prices by running at night and storing their heat for release during the day. And communities will be able to generate their own small-scale power and sell it back to the grid under the province's proposed feed-in tariff. The latest assessment suggests the province subsidize these projects by more than 50¢/kWh for small wind turbines and about 10¢/kWh for hydro.
Nova Scotia Power will also benefit from the deal the province struck with Newfoundland and Labrador to develop hydroelectric installations on the Lower Churchill River. Nova Scotia will be able to get a tenth of its power needs from these imports starting in 2017, and possibly much more if the project's second stage goes ahead. That should enable the shutdown of several greenhouse gas-spewing coal-fired plants, if they can't be retrofitted for carbon capture and storage.