Nova Scotia Power says move to green exceeds provincial targets
Nova Scotia now generates 26.6 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources
Nova Scotia Power says it has exceeded the provincial target of generating 25 per cent of electricity from renewable energy sources in 2015.
The province now generates 26.6 per cent of its electricity from sources such as wind, hydro, tidal and biomass.
The most rapid growth has come from wind farms, which jumped from supplying one per cent to 10 per cent of the province's electricity since the previous NDP government legislated targets eight years ago.
"I'm proud to say that in 2015, Nova Scotia Power achieved a new record for renewable energy," said Mark Sidebottom, Nova Scotia Power's vice-president responsible for power generation.
"By 2020 we will have a greater percentage coming from renewables than Germany, a recognized world leader in renewable energy."
That's not the case today — statistics from Germany show it generates 30 per cent of its electricity from solar and other renewable sources. By 2020, that's expected to climb to 35 per cent.
Shift away from coal
Nova Scotia Power predicts it will surpass that percentage after hydroelectricity arrives from Muskrat Falls early in 2018.
Hydro accounts for 9.8 per cent of the province's electricity supply today, but is forecast to hit 22 per cent in 2020.
Over the same period, Nova Scotia plans to retire one of four coal-fired generating stations.
Ten years ago, more than 80 per cent of Nova Scotia's electricity was generated by burning coal — that has dropped to 56 per cent and Nova Scotia Power forecasts it will decline to 45 per cent by 2020.
"We have made remarkable progress in Nova Scotia," said Sidebottom. "In 2007, only nine per cent of energy came from renewable sources.
"With the addition of significant amounts of wind generation and strategic investments in our hydro sites, we have almost tripled that in just eight years. No other Canadian utility has made this kind of rapid transition."
Power bill increases
Because renewable energy can be more expensive than other fuel sources in the early years of long-term contracts, Sidebottom said residential power rates will rise each year from 2017 to 2019.
"We believe that it can be below 1.5 per cent in each of the years and we will be making an application to the regulator quite soon," said Sidebotttom.
Residential ratepayers saw no increase in their power bill this year.
Nova Scotia Power officials say over the course of 20- to 30-year contracts signed with hydro developers and wind farms, rates in Nova Scotia should "stabilize" compared to the double-digit increases experienced in the past seven years.