Feed-in Tariffs for Community Power Projects part of Nova Scotia’s New Renewable Electricty Plan
The Province of Nova Scotia unveiled its new Renewable Electricity Plan on April 23.
The plan outlines an “orderly transition to new, local, renewable energy sources” with a target of 25% by 2015 and a goal of 40% by 2020.
While 600 MW of new large scale renewable power projects will still be procured using a bidding process, community based feed-in tariffs (COMFITs) will be established for 100 MW of local power projects developed by municipalities, First Nations, co-operatives, and non-profit groups. Assistance with technical design, financing, and regulatory requirements will be provided to these groups under the plan. Small businesses operating through Community Economic Development Investment Funds (CEDIFs) will also be eligible for the community based feed-in tariffs.
Electricity produced from wind, biomass, tidal, wave, in-stream hydro as well as combined heat and power projects will be eligible for COMFIT rates that reflect basic cost-recovery, including the cost of capital.
Many observers have congratulated Nova Scotia on the introduction of feed-in tariffs and for the leadership and example that this provides to other provinces. “The plan put forward today shows how Canada’s province that is most dependent on coal power can take major strides to reduce that dependence by using renewable power” says Tim Weis, Director of the Pembina Institute’s Renewable Energy and Efficiency Program. ”Nova Scotia is setting a leadership example for other coal dependent provinces, such as Alberta and Saskatchewan, to follow.”
“The Nova Scotia community based feed-in tariffs provide an excellent model for other provinces to follow, particularly those that have a tradition of using public power like British Columbia and Quebec” says Roger Peters, CanREA National Secretary.
Others are disappointed that feed-in tariffs will not be used for all renewable power procurement as they are in Europe and Ontario. Individuals and businesses wanting to invest in renewable power projects are offered only “enhanced net metering” – payment for power produced at the same price as they pay for power used. With the absence of solar from COMFIT, this effectively rules out investment in solar photovoltaic power systems in Nova Scotia.
Farmer developed projects are also not curently defined as ”community” projects and are therefore also not eligable for the feed-in tariff as they are in Ontario.
To ensure renewable power is developed sustainably, biomass power generation has been limited to 700 GWh/yr and tidal power will be developed “safely”.
The Province will review all of the components of the Plan in 2012, including the possibility of expanding the use or feed-in tariffs.
For the latest information on Nova Scotia’s feed-in tariff see http://www.canrea.ca/site/provincial-updates/nova-scotias-feed-in-tariff/.