June 7, 2004

PEI introduces strategy to enhance renewable energy use

Prince Edward Island Environment and Energy Minister Jamie Ballem marked Clean Air Day, June 2, by unveiling a plan designed to help the province for reduce its reliance on fossil fuels at the same time achieve a measure of energy self-sufficiency.

The Prince Edward Island Energy Framework and Renewable Energy Strategy outlines an action plan to enhance the role of renewable energy, and the framework around which a comprehensive provincial energy strategy will be shaped in the months ahead.

Renewable energy sources currently meet about 7% of PEI's total energy requirements, with biomass accounting for 6.5% and wind 0.5%. Ballem said wind holds the most promise for PEI. Wind energy now supplies 5% of Islanders' electricity and displaces 30,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases and other harmful pollutants each year.

"With the cost of wind energy increasingly competitive with that of traditional fuels, there is potential for significant expansion in PEI's wind energy capacity - not only through wind farms such as the one at North Cape, but also community co-operatives, farm operations, small business and individual Islanders," said Ballem. "The Renewable Energy Strategy provides the road map to get us there."

The strategy includes 19 action items. Topping the list, PEI will become the first Atlantic province and one of the few jurisdictions in North America to commit to a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for electricity which defines the percentage of electrical energy that will be accessed from renewable sources. The province will commit to an RPS for electricity of at least 15% by 2010 and evaluate opportunities to have 100% of its electrical capacity - at least 200 megawatts - acquired by renewable energy by 2015.

Ballem said the short-term goal of 15% by 2010 will be met through the establishment of an additional 40 megawatts of wind capacity. The strategy includes several actions to promote wind development, with a strong emphasis on providing the opportunity and the mechanisms for Islanders to produce their own power, to sell excess production, and to invest in local wind energy projects.

The Renewable Energy Strategy also calls for Maritime Electric Company Limited to file a demand side management strategy which promotes efficient energy use, and an Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) which defines the price that others must pay to access Maritime Electric Company Limited's electricity transmission infrastructure.

Electricity, however, accounts for only 13% of PEI's energy requirements. The strategy also focuses on measures to enhance the role of renewable energy sources in transportation and space heating. These include evaluating the feasibility of biomass-fueled generating systems, encouraging adoption of the National Building Code and the Model National Energy Code for Houses, exploring options for public transportation, and looking at the economic viability of an ethanol and bio-diesel industry in PEI.

To show its leadership, Ballem said the provincial government will immediately introduce transportation efficiency standards for new or replacement vehicles in its fleet and implement electricity efficiency programs within its public buildings. Measures taken already to reduce unnecessary lighting at the public administration buildings in Charlottetown are expected to save $10,000 per year or 2.3% per cent of the annual electricity costs for the building complex.

The Energy Framework and Renewable Energy Strategy may be viewed on the PEI Web site, www.gov.pe.ca/go/renewables. Copies may also be requested by calling 902/368-4000 or toll-free 1-800-236-5196.

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