November 7, 2005

Nova Scotia sets GHG reduction target in green energy plan

In its new green energy framework, Nova Scotia has set a target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 1.5 million tonnes annually and adding more renewable electrical generation to the power grid. These objectives are detailed in "Smart Choices for Cleaner Energy...the Green Energy Framework."

The framework document, released October 20, says the province should develop a vision for future energy use that relies more on energy efficiency, renewable and alternative energy, and developing cleaner energy technologies. It says this will allow continued economic growth and will help Nova Scotia take the best advantage of federal cost-sharing opportunities. The federal government's Project Green proposes as much as $4 billion nationwide for reducing GHG emissions.

"Nova Scotia's energy system needs in excess of $3 billion of investment to make it more sustainable," said Energy Minister Cecil Clarke. "This framework is a call to all Nova Scotians and to the federal government to work together to achieve greater price stability and environmental responsibility in our energy supply, particularly electricity."

Nova Scotia's proposals include an additional 280 megawatts (MW) of new wind power generation, in addition to the 100 MW already planned for the province. The document also says it is possible to develop a 20 MW biomass-fuelled generating facility in northern Nova Scotia. A further 50 MW of energy could be realized by adding heat recovery capacity to Nova Scotia Power facilities, while 50 more MW of energy demand could be met through a community heating and electrical co-generation project in Halifax Regional Municipality.

As well, the government is proposing long-term programs to encourage more energy conservation by both government and individuals, and to develop more sustainable transportation options for Nova Scotia residents. The province is currently negotiating cost-sharing details for the various initiatives with the federal government.

The planning framework says more research is needed to understand how climate change will affect Nova Scotia's way of life and how government conducts its business. "We need to be able to plan for the health and safety consequences of climate change, and we can't do that until we have a solid understanding of what changes it might bring," Clarke said.

In Nova Scotia, most GHG emissions come from electrical generation and from transportation. One option available for achieving greenhouse gas reductions is to buy an emissions credit from a country that has already surpassed its reduction targets. "The cheapest way to manage the greenhouse gas problem is to buy emission credits, but that only rewards someone else's reductions," said Clarke, adding, "A goal of this framework is to meet the emissions challenge without just buying credits...in other words, have Nova Scotians benefit from the investments that have to be made."

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