How Nova Scotia Will Become A Green Powerhouse

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Originally published on the ECOreport

Nova Scotia has made some impressive strides towards adopting more renewable energy. Less than a decade ago, fossil fuels produced 85% of its electricity, and now it is obtaining 24% from renewables. The former carbon junkie now has a report that explains how Nova Scotia will become a green powerhouse.


Nova Scotia’s Electricity Plan 2015-2040

It is called Our Electricity Future: Nova Scotia’s Electricity Plan 2015-2040.

Though no large scale generation projects are needed before 2030, the crucial decisions that shape the province’s energy future will be made.

“Too often, renewable power is produced when demand is low. Nova Scotian consumers will benefit more if demand and supply of electricity can be aligned. Development of technologies that report when renewable electricity production is high and the carbon footprint is low will be supported. Such technology can open opportunities for consumers to shift their electricity use – manually or digitally– to times when renewable power is more plentiful.” – Our Electricity Future


An Atlantic Energy Loop

One of the central components of this plan is an Atlantic region energy loop.

Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have a power sharing agreement, whereby both utilities can gain access to the lowest cost power. Thus NS Power’s coal fired electricity can flow east in the winter and the direction changes during the spring when NB Power has abundant hydro.

By late 2017 or early 2018,  the Maritime Link will open up the prospect of obtaining electricity from Newfoundland or New Brunswick or even Hydro Quebec.

Newfoundland and Labrador are both seen as significant sources of hydro-electricity, especially after Quebec Hydro’s contract with the 5500 MW Upper Churchill project expires in 2041.


Developing More Renewable Resources

In terms of domestic generation, coal will continue to be used until at least 2042, but Nova Scotia will increasingly move towards renewables.

As of 2016, NS Power will no longer have a monopoly on the province’s power supply. Consumers will be given the option to “go green for electricity” and access to online tools to make their choice easier.

Legislation is being introduced to enable community solar.

Nova Scotia also intends to develop tidal power. Its immediate goal is “between 16 and 22 MW of electricity from in- stream tidal in production or under active development by the early 2020s at the FORCE site near Parrsboro.” Over the course of the next decade, they hope to have 300 MW of tidal power.

A crucial component of increasing Nova Scotia’s renewable adoption is battery solutions.

Two Nova Scotia companies are pioneers in this field. Neothermal, the outgrowth of a lab at Dalhousie University, is currently exploring heat storage for residential applications.  The LightSail project, in Queens County, has “an innovative approach to storing wind energy in colder climates through compressed air.”

Nova Scotia’s utilities could be carbon free before 2050.


All illustrations taken from Our Electricity Future: Nova Scotia’s Electricity Plan 2015-2040.

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Roy L Hales

is the President of Cortes Community Radio , CKTZ 89.5 FM, where he has hosted a half hour program since 2014, and editor of the Cortes Currents (formerly the ECOreport), a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of British Columbia. He is a research junkie who has written over 2,000 articles since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.

Roy L Hales has 441 posts and counting. See all posts by Roy L Hales

12 thoughts on “How Nova Scotia Will Become A Green Powerhouse

  • I find it interesting and positive that the government planned for changes in 2005 and followed through.
    Canada has a great potential to become an “energy super power” using the right (RE) energy. :))

  • Holy crap that’s a lot of coal… Can we get some wind turbines on the coast there please?

  • While a good start, they still have a lot of coal to kick out. And NG went from 2% to 13% basically switching out oil. Having not said what the total is, it is hard to say what the 300MW tidal flow over next decade (or so) really means.

  • Even if Nova Scotia continues at that pace they will still be on the list of environmental villains in 2070. How on earth could they even get to that situation to start with? Isn’t there anyone who even graduates pre-school in Nova Scotia?

  • 2050 is a plausible target date for complete decarbonsation of the economy. For electricity, it has to be much earlier – sometime in the 2030s. Nova Scotia hasn’t got the message yet. However, the vital interprovincial transmission links will allow a faster transition than NS is currently planning.

    • Maybe by 2100. The last 10 years, china has double its coal usage and will continue to install many coal power plants. GDP is link to energy, most of emerging countries will significantly develop their infrastructures therefore use more coal. Even good CO2 country like France use close to 70% of fossil energy overall. It is very hard to get an understanding, maybe a google map of CO2 emission would help everyone to realize the scope of the issue facing us.

      • China has already decreased its coal use. This year it will be down perhaps 250 million tonnes from its peak. And we know Chinese coal use is down because here in Australia we sell them a significant portion of the stuff. A portion that is now considerably smaller than it was, reducing the number of collier ships that arrive and causing us some distress, which we of course express in song.

        Coal-0! Cooooooaaallllllll-O!
        Daylight come but no collier be here,
        Coal, me say coal, me say coal, me say coal,
        Me say coal, me say coal-O.
        Daylight come but no collier be here.

        Robot mine while I sit on bum,
        Chinese collier for coal no come,
        Stack de carbon till de collier come,
        Bear chase coal price watch him run.

        Come Mister collier, carry way me carbon,
        Daylight come but no collier be here.
        Coal so old no more oxidation,
        Coal get cold while sitting in de sun.

        Fifty mega, hundred mega, two fifty megatonne fall!
        Chinese coal consumption he hit wall,
        Balance sheet he looking appalled,
        Collier no come no coal get hauled.

        A beautiful bunch of fossilised tree,
        Morning come but no collier for me,
        Hide the deadly climate change!
        Daylight come and de world look strange.

      • What do you mean? I thought France was mostly powered by nuclear. Anyone?

        • Perhaps it’s energy vs. electricity. France gets the majority of its electricity from nuclear but energy includes transportation and heating as well.

  • The potential tidal energy in the Bay of Fundy could power the entire eastern seaboard if the appropriate technology can be perfected.

    • Yes, tides in the Bay of Fundy (between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) are amazing–largest swing in the world, IIRC, amounting to ~7-12 meters or so, depending on exact location. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who summered on New Brunswick’s Campobello Island as a child and as a young man, tried to create a tidal generation station there in the 30s, but Congress killed funding before it could be completed:

      “Discussion of reviving the Passamaquoddy Tidal Power Project has surfaced every few years [since 1936], with studies undertaken and debates renewed. Each time, most people agree that the engineering plan is sound: the project could be built and it would work. Other considerations, however, have kept the project from being resumed.”

      So it seems the problem isn’t entirely the technology–and that it hasn’t been for the better part of a century now.

  • The report reads as a fuzzy collection of vague good intentions, but I cannot find concrete goals like x MW of PV and Y MW of wind power in 2040. Real knowledge of the variability and grid integration of wind and solar power seems to be missing. They make a big deal about the “intermittency” of renewable power, without quantifying the penetration level where they expect this to become a problem. On the one hand they discuss the need for compressed air storage and demand side management, at the other side they say they can tap into 5.5 GW of dispatchable hydropower in Quebec.

    I hope that the fuzziness and prejudice that speaks out of the report is genuine lack of knowledge and there is a real willingness to learn, rather than that some red herring technologies are pursued so that later on they can say “we tried, it failed, let’s go back to business as usual”

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