Switching to renewable energy sources on target, NS bureaucrats say

Nova Scotia is on track to meet 80% of the province’s electricity needs with renewable energy by 2030, a legislative committee announced Tuesday.

“Just ten years ago, 80% of our electricity came from coal and high-carbon fuels,” Karen Gatien, deputy minister of the Department of Natural Resources and Renewable Energy, told the standing committee on resources. natural and economic development.

“By the end of the calendar year, that figure will have dropped to around 30 percent.”

Gatien said meeting the commitment of 80% renewable energy by 2030 will require continued collaboration with government partners.

She said the next two years will see the government invest nearly $120 million in programs to reduce emissions and tackle climate change.

“We continue to work with our partners across the Atlantic region on a path away from coal-fired power,” Gatien said of the key milestone in a suite of solutions to achieve the 2030 target.

Gatien said the department launched a request for proposals in February to attract innovative, low-cost solutions to provide 10% of Nova Scotia’s electricity from wind and solar power.

The request for proposal attracted 25 bidders and the ministry will make a decision on the successful bidders in the coming weeks.

“Once these projects are operational, they will reduce Nova Scotia’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than one million tonnes each year, as the RFP targets 350 megawatts of electricity from renewable energy,” said Gatien.

Solar panels on a north Halifax home are seen with the batteries at Tufts Cove in the background Friday, Jan. 28, 2022. – Ryan Taplin

“This work supports the province’s goal of achieving a 53 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and becoming zero by 2050.”

Gatien said the wind and solar initiative has the greatest potential of any single government action to reduce greenhouse gases.

The ministry is also working on new residential and community solar programs, which it hopes to launch later this year, the deputy minister said.

“These new programs will make solar power an option for many more Nova Scotians,” said Gatien. “Other things we are doing to address climate change include advancing transportation electrification. … We are working with the federal government to advance the adoption of EVs (electric vehicles) through incentives, education and building charging infrastructure across Nova Scotia.

The Deputy Minister said “Tidal development is another emerging sector that will result in green technologies, green jobs, a cleaner environment and a renewable and predictable source of electricity.”

A major project that puts the 2030 target within reach is the Maritime Link.

“The Maritime Link project uses a 500 MW high-voltage direct current connection that allows clean, renewable electricity generated in Newfoundland and Labrador to be transmitted to the North American grid in Nova Scotia,” Gatien said.

Nova Scotia taxpayers have already footed the bill for the cost of the $1.7 billion cable that runs 170 kilometers across the bottom of the Cabot Strait to connect the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador to Point Aconi, in Nova Scotia, despite continued delays in the transmission of electricity proceeds in that province.

“Once stable and reliable amounts of power are generated from the Maritime Link, it will contribute significantly to our goal of generating 80% of our power from renewables,” said Keith Collins, Executive Director of Clean Energy at the Nova Scotia Department, adding that the Newfoundland and Labrador project is working with software, testing and commissioning issues.

“We’re hoping right now that this spring we’ll see a greater frequency of days that the Nova Scotia block (of transmitted power) passes, which is the one that’s guaranteed to us,” Collins said.

David Miller, the department’s director of clean electricity, said when the Labrador power station and the links operate as planned, it will give Nova Scotia access to a substantial amount of clean electricity on an annual basis. .

“If it worked as planned, we would get over 10% of our electricity through our existing contract through the Nova Scotia block,” Miller said.

An aerial view of the Muskrat Falls site.  - Contributed
An aerial view of the Muskrat Falls site. – Contributed

He added that the province would also have a right of first refusal for any excess power that may pass through the transmission line under the Cabot Strait.

“If Newfoundland has more electricity than it needs once it’s fully operational and they want to export it, we can be the first buyer,” Miller said. “It has to go through us to get to New Brunswick or New England…we can buy it cheaply.”

Miller said when the two blocks are added together, 30% of Nova Scotia’s electricity could come from the Maritime Link.

Capacity from Labrador would be the equivalent of three coal-fired units, Miller said.

“It will not only give us clean electricity, but it will also allow us to shut down coal-fired power plants,” Miller said. “Once it is fully operational and delivering steadily, Nova Scotia Power is expected to shut down Lingan 2, one of Lingan’s four coal-fired units.

Miller said when the 30% of the Maritime Link is added to existing renewables that supply about 30% of the province’s electricity and another 10% to be supplied by new wind projects, the province will have achieved 70% renewables. . by 2025.

“Additional programming will then be required to take us from over 70% to 80% over the next five years,” he said, pointing to additional purchases of solar and wind energy.

It is hoped that the generation and transmission system from Muskrat Falls to Nova Scotia will be fully operational by the end of the summer.

Another source of clean electricity is the Atlantic Loop, a proposed $5 billion project that would improve electricity transmission capacity in the Atlantic region to facilitate the influx of hydroelectric power from the Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Of course, we need federal support to make the Atlantic Loop a reality,” Gatien said.

The four Atlantic Prime Ministers met at the start of the week and the Atlantic loop project, still under discussion, seems to be 10 years away from reality.

New wind projects in the province will create lots of local green jobs in rural areas of the province, Miller said. With wind replacing coal, the price of wind energy will remain stable against the price of coal, which has increased eightfold over the past two weeks.

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