Up from the previously announced 11.3%, a new target of 25% of all electricity used in Nova Scotia to be derived from renewable sources has now officially been set in place. This goal will increase to 40% by 2020. Seeing how Nova Scotia currently generates most of its power from coal, this is a big commitment.
In order to achieve these ambitious targets, the province is implementing what they call a COMFIT (Community-Based Feed-In Tariff).
The program aims to achieve at least 100MW of its mandate through smaller-scale, community-based Renewable Energy projects, while relying more heavily on better-suited wind, tidal, hydro and biomass projects that are larger in scale to achieve the balance of their objectives.
Much like their Scottish predecessors, Nova Scotia (Latin for New Scotland) plans to prove that energy derived from tidal sources can be just as effective as any other means of generating electricity. The province is home to the only tidal power generating facility in North America, one of just three in the world.
Nova Scotia Power plans to contribute approximately 300 MW of tidal power to the province before 2020. Recent studies show that there may be the potential to harness as much as 2,000 MW of tidal power in the region.
Unlike what many other governments in North America have been known to do, the government of Nova Scotia realizes that they can't just put in place new mandates with the expectation that the program will work on its own. As part of their responsibility and overall dedication to ensuring that the program is a success, the Nova Scotia government will provide guidance in areas such as project development, permitting, approvals, and will even help private energy developers access project financing. The government will also assist by providing smart meters throughout the province.
Legislation is expected to be implemented soon, at which time the corresponding feed-in tariff rules and regulations are also expected to be publicly announced.
Leading renewable energy companies across the country, including Amp Solar, Atlantic Wind & Solar and Tenedos Energy, are now all waiting for tariff rates to be formally confirmed before deciding if they will be moving into the province to capitalize on the program.
A full progress review on the COMFIT program is scheduled to take place in 2012.
Surprisingly, the Canadian federal government feels that green initiatives should not be the responsibility of the nation as a whole, but rather, should be tackled at the provincial level. As such, it is nice to see yet another Canadian province stepping up to the plate while accepting their share of the responsibility in converting the country to clean, green renewable energy sources.