Nova Scotia’s Community Feed-in Tariff (COMFIT)
Nova Scotia has become the second Canadian province after Ontarioto adopt Feed-in Tariffs. The Province unveiled its new Renewable Electricity Plan on April 23, 2010. The plan outlines an “orderly transition to new, local, renewable energy sources” with aggressive new targets of 25% by 2015 and a goal of 40% by 2020. In 2011, Nova Scotia set a feed in tariff specific to communities, the COMFIT. For more information visit: http://nsrenewables.ca/feed-tariffs.
Separate COMFIT rates are set for wind projects above 50 kW, wind projects 50 kW and below, run-of-the-river hydro, in-stream tidal (below 0.5MW), and biomass combined heat and power. Projects must be connected to the distribution grid and be less than the minimum load in its respective distribution sub-stationed. As a result, maximum renewable power generation in each zone is 1 to 5 MW. Ownership of the projects has to be at least 50% community ownership. Those groups eligible for the COMFIT program has been limited to one or a combination of:
- a university;
- a municipality or a wholly owned subsidiary of a municipality;
- a Mi’kmaw band council;
- a co-operative or not-for-profit of which a majority of members reside in the Province and at least 25 members reside in the municipality where the generation facility is located; or
- a community economic-development corporation of which at least 25 shareholders or members reside in the municipality where the generation facility is located. (Nova ScotiaElectricity Act, c. 25, s. 20, 2010).
An exception exists for biomass combined heat and power projects for which any entity that demonstrate a use for the heat, known as a ‘steam host,’ is eligible for the COMFIT. A program review has been scheduled for late 2012.
AFITfor tidal projects above 0.5MW has been legislated and will be established shortly.
600 MW of new large scale renewable power projects will still be procured using a bidding process.
Many observers have congratulatedNova Scotiaon the introduction of feed-in tariffs and for the leadership and example that this provides to other smaller provinces. Others are disappointed that feed-in tariffs will not be used for all renewable power procurement as they are inEuropeandOntario. 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. The absence of solar from COMFIT effectively rules out investment in solar photovoltaic power systems inNova Scotia.
Farmer developed projects are also not currently defined as ”community” projects and are therefore also not eligible 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.