Nova Scotia to offer rebates for electric vehicles, home energy upgrades
Province also raising renewable energy targets to 80 per cent by 2030
Nova Scotians looking to make their homes or vehicles more energy efficient are now able to apply for rebates of up to several thousand dollars from the province.
In their first official announcement since being sworn in, Premier Iain Rankin and Environment Minister Keith Irving announced $19 million in funding for rebates on energy-efficient home upgrades and electric vehicles.
"We'll have the program up and running soon, but the rebates will apply as of today," Rankin said at the announcement, which was made at a dealer of electric vehicles in Dartmouth, N.S.
Half of the funding, or $9.5 million, will go toward rebates for new and used electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and e-bikes.
The rebates will be $3,000 for new electric vehicles, $2,000 for used vehicles and $500 for e-bikes. The provincial rebates will stack with federal rebates of up to $5,000 from the federal government for new electric vehicles.
There are nearly 500 electric vehicles registered in Nova Scotia presently, according to the provincial government. Rankin said uptake of electric vehicles is higher in other provinces with provincial rebates. He also said the Nova Scotia government will work to augment the roughly 100 charging stations across the province.
"More and more as the markets have the vehicles in, it's in the interest of businesses to have those charging stations," he said. "There has been work underway and we'll support more work to make sure that we have the infrastructure as well."
The other half of the $19 million will go to rebate programs that aim to make home energy efficiency upgrades accessible to low-income Nova Scotians.
The programs are administered by Efficiency Nova Scotia, with some rebates for low-income homeowners and some for property owners that offer multi-unit affordable housing. The province estimates this will help 1,200 low-income families.
80 per cent renewable by 2030
Rankin also announced a new renewable energy target that would see the entire province have 80 per cent of its electricity use come from renewable sources by 2030. Rankin promised he would introduce the target during the Nova Scotia Liberal leadership race.
The previous target of 40 per cent renewable by the end of 2020 was not met.
Rankin said currently the province's renewable use is in the "high 30s," but when the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador comes online he expects that number to rise to 60 per cent.
He anticipated mostly wind energy and some solar will take the province from the final 60 per cent to 80 per cent, calling the target "very achievable."
"Research tells us that wind power is inexpensive and reliable in Nova Scotia. It's the quickest and most cost-effective way to add more renewables to the grid," he said.
Rankin said in the next few weeks the Department of Energy will start looking at contracts for the lowest bidders for wind farms, a new Renewable Energy Standard will be released next month, and by 2025 all electricity for provincial government offices will come from renewable energy.
"It's also an economic opportunity that Nova Scotia should be part of shaping that change, and not be dragged along with it," Rankin said, adding that he wants to be the first province in Canada to get to net zero emissions.
About half of the money for the rebate program is coming from the Green Fund, which is Nova Scotia's cap-and-trade program that collects money through auctions where the largest greenhouse gas emitters and energy companies are required to participate.
The Ecology Action Centre estimated the auctions will generate between $27 to $32-million each year for renewable energy projects.
With files from Paul Palmeter