Dexter discusses greenhouse gas rules with PM
The Canadian Press
Posted: Jun 21, 2011 2:23 PM ET
Last Updated: Jun 21, 2011 8:33 PM ET
Premier Darrell Dexter says he's concerned new greenhouse gas regulations being drafted in Ottawa will drive up energy costs in Nova Scotia if the federal Environment Department moves too quickly on a plan to require the closure of older coal-fired generating plants.
Dexter raised the issue with Prime Minister Stephen Harper when the two met Monday in Ottawa, the premier said Tuesday after an announcement in Halifax.
He said the province wants to avoid having to quickly turn off the plants, a move that would increase electricity bills.
"My main concern is that we could drive up costs of electricity in the province by stranding costs in coal-fired generating stations that we would be unable to recover," Dexter said.
The province's pulp and paper mills are particularly sensitive to rising energy costs, he said, given the shaky state of world paper markets.
"We want to make sure that we are fully engaged on the front end so that we don't get surprises that we don't want.… It's much more difficult to undo things once they've been done, than to get engaged in the file early on."
Dexter said he would prefer shutting down individual generators within each plant, rather than taking plants off line all at once. By closing the plants in stages, the province would be able to maintain its ability to generate reserve power, he said.
He said the province has already legislated greenhouse gas emission caps and is in the process of reducing its reliance on fossil fuels by promising to increase its renewable energy capacity to 40 per cent by 2020.
Brennan Vogel, energy and climate change co-ordinator with the Halifax-based Ecology Action Centre, said Nova Scotia has done a good job setting targets for renewable energy, greenhouse gas reductions and energy efficiency, but it has yet to say how and when it will close its four coal-fired power plants.
Suggestions welcomed by PM: Dexter
Meanwhile, the Ontario government has already said it will close its four coal-fired generators by the end of 2014.
Nova Scotia Power Inc., the province's privately-owned electric utility, appears to be on track to reach its targets for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, but the company is counting on the green energy from the proposed Lower Churchill hydroelectric development in Labrador to account for about half of its reductions, Vogel said.
"They're putting a lot of their eggs in the Lower Churchill basket," Vogel said in an interview. "That's a risky proposition."
Instead, he said the province should be taking a closer look at displacing the use of coal by importing hydroelectric power from Quebec and doing more to support its renewable energy industry by making it easier for producers of solar and wind energy to feed their electricity into the province's grid.
Vogel said Ottawa's proposed regulations for coal-fired plants represent a step in the right direction, but he accused the Harper government of failing to deal with Canada's biggest greenhouse gas emitter: Alberta's tarsands industry.
"Canada is way off track when it comes to reducing greenhouse gasses at the national level," he said.
"It's an approach from Ottawa that is trying to take action on an important area of greenhouse gasses, but it's avoiding the major area of greenhouse gas growth in Canada, which is the tarsands."
Dexter said his suggestions were welcomed by Harper.
"I was satisfied that we were very well received," he said. "I thought the prime minister appeared to be in quite a good mood. I'm sure that a majority mandate and four years of runway will do that for you."
- In His Own Words: Bob Rae on his decision to leave the House by Kady O'Malley Jun. 19, 2013 12:04 PM Read his statement here.
Top News Headlines
- 30,000 Canadians are homeless every night
- A new national report into homelessness in this country tells a grim story — at least 200,000 Canadians experience homelessness in any given year and least 30,000 Canadians are homeless on any given night. more »
- Obesity called a disease by U.S. doctors group
- In order to fight what it described as an "obesity epidemic," the American Medical Association voted to recognize obesity as a disease and recommended a number of measures to fight it. more »
- Neil Macdonald: Washington's obsession with leakers
- Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are just the most prominent targets in an all-out legal and propaganda campaign that America's security apparatus is mounting against leakers everywhere, Neil Macdonald writes. more »
- How open is Ottawa's new 'open data' website?
- Treasury Board President Tony Clement is touting the federal government's revamped data portal as a "new natural resource." But that online window for previously published data arrives at the same time the government faces controversy over just how open it really is. more »
Latest Politics News Headlines
- Canada to send peacekeeping troops to Haiti
- A handful of Canadian troops are about to take part in peacekeeping operation in Haiti, under the command of Brazilian forces, in a long-delayed mission that has been kept inexplicably low on the political radar. more »
- Bob Rae stepping down as an MP
- Bob Rae, who has represented the Toronto Centre riding for the Liberals since 2008, is stepping down as a Member of Parliament to devote more time to his work as a negotiator for First Nations in Northern Ontario. more »
- Wednesdays with @Kady: House off for summer, Rae gone for good
- A flurry of sudden deal-making has sprung MPs from a grumpy House of Commons a few days early. Kady O'Malley's final "people's caucus" of the spring sitting follows the three parties' final news conferences before summer break. more »
- Wearing a mask at a riot becomes a crime today
- The bill that bans the wearing of masks or disguises during a riot or unlawful assembly is scheduled to become law today when it gets royal assent. more »
- Senator Tkachuk defends secretive committee's work Jun. 15, 2013 8:03 AM This week on The House, we ask Senator David Tkachuk about Mac Harb taking the Senate to court and Pamela Wallin's explanation for her expenses problems. Plus, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Shawn Atleo has strong words for the Harper government's approach to First Nations issues. The Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt is here to respond.
- 2 men jailed in Dominican wedding fight back in Canada
- Bob Rae stepping down as an MP
- Half of First Nations children live in poverty
- All-party deal on bills, MP oversight lets House out early
- Are e-cigarettes safe to puff?
- Huge ancient city at Angkor Wat revealed by lasers
- Tim Hortons being circled by Wall Street hedge funds
- B.C. teacher duct-taped students' mouths
- Most groups don't want return of Trudeau speaking fees