Nova Scotia’s New Electricity Plan: 3 Key Themes
November 17, 2015
By James MacDuff, Partner at McInnes Cooper,
Sara Mahaney, Former Lawyer at McInnes Cooper
On November 9, 2015, the Province of Nova Scotia released its Electricity Plan for 2015-2040, titled Our Electricity Future: Nova Scotia’s Electricity Plan. Here’s a snapshot of the three key themes and changes that NS electricity producers, consumers – and start-ups – can expect in the short and the long term.
1. An Innovation Focus in Electricity Use & Production
In the short term (to the end of 2019), the Plan creates some new opportunities for smaller-scale pilots and community programs, including:
Net-Metering Regime. Small-scale pilot projects (20kW or less) will be permitted to allow homeowners, businesses and institutions to sell surplus power from renewable sources to Nova Scotia Power Inc. (NSPI).
Community Buildings Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Pilot Program. This Program will promote the installation of solar panels on community buildings such as town halls, fire halls and community centres. Projects will be approved on a competitive basis. The Program will be subject to clear caps and limits, so those interested in getting involved with it should do so at the front-end.
Electricity Innovation Pilot Program. The Province will provide funding on a competitive basis to research projects and innovative technologies aimed at better managing the use and production of electricity, such as storing electricity from intermittent renewable sources.
2. A Changing Landscape for Nova Scotia’s Electricity Regulation
Also in the short term, the Plan heralds changes to Nova Scotia’s electricity regulatory regime, including:
Performance-Based Regulation. The Province intends to pass legislation to allow the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to establish and begin holding NSPI accountable to performance standards regarding power reliability, storm response and customer service. The details of this regulatory regime will be the subject of a future proceeding before the Utility and Review Board, expected in 2016.
Rate Stability & Predictability Measures. NSPI will be subject to a 3-year general rate freeze (to take effect after April 30, 2016 following any application by NSPI to the Utility and Review Board for a general rate increase for that period) and NSPI will be required to develop a fuel stability plan to make the cost of electricity more predictable to the end of 2019.
3. More Competition in Nova Scotia’s Electricity Marketplace
In the longer term, no new large-scale power generation is expected to be required in Nova Scotia before 2030. However, any future large-scale generation will be open and subject to a full and fair competitive process as opposed to the guaranteed Feed-In-Tariff rates that have recently been available. As well, a limited market opening through the Renewable-To-Retail program in early 2016 will allow independent power producers to sell renewable electricity directly to consumers. The details of this program are currently being reviewed as part of a proceeding before the Utility and Review Board, with a hearing scheduled for January 18, 2016.
Read Our Electricity Future: Nova Scotia’s Electricity Plan here.
Please contact your McInnes Cooper lawyer or any member of our McInnes Cooper Electricity Team to discuss this topic or any other legal issue.
McInnes Cooper has prepared this document for information only; it is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult McInnes Cooper about your unique circumstances before acting on this information. McInnes Cooper excludes all liability for anything contained in this document and any use you make of it.
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