Working together for an affordable, cleaner energy future

When we picture our region’s energy future, renewable energy is at the centre of it. Nova Scotians want clean, affordable electricity. It’s a transition that’s meant making some big changes in how we do business, shifting how we make and deliver electricity—all while keeping rates affordable for customers.

It’s a challenge that energizes us every day.

At this year’s Marine Renewables Canada Fall Forum, Mark Sidebottom, our Chief Operating Officer, reflected on how far we’ve come in our clean energy journey, and the path we have ahead.

Excerpts from opening remarks at the Marine Renewables Canada 2020 Fall Forum on November 5 by Mark Sidebottom, Chief Operating Officer.

Our industry is on the cusp of a major shift. We’re building a greener, smarter and more resilient energy future in Nova Scotia for our customers.

Our customers have told us clearly that this is the path forward that they want us to chart.

And we’re listening.    

As a major economic driver in Nova Scotia, we know we have the opportunity to assist in creating and supporting a green powered economy— one that supports the creation of more jobs and more opportunities for Nova Scotia businesses and organizations large and small.

We’ve already gained significant ground in our transition to cleaner energy.  We’ve reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 36% from 2005 levels and cut our use of coal by one-third—but we don’t plan to stop there.

Continuing to reduce Nova Scotia’s carbon emissions is our priority. But we can’t do it alone. It’s why we’re laying the groundwork to enable other sectors of the economy—like home heating and transportation—to switch to clean electricity.

And as we work to grow our use of renewables, an important step is ensuring we have the right technology so that our grid can accommodate the shift. We’ve made great strides in the last year alone.

  • We’re modernizing our grid by installing smart meters across the province which will give customers more convenience, reliability and control.

  • We’ve launched the Smart Grid Nova Scotia Project - looking at how to safely and effectively integrate solar, battery storage and electric vehicles to the electricity grid, and learn how they can benefit all customers.

  • We have a successful pilot called the Intelligent Feeder Project, where we installed residential batteries and a grid-sized battery at the local substation in Elmsdale.  This helps us understand how batteries can help us use renewable energy more efficiently, while providing back-up power to customers during power outages.

We’re doing all of this as we continue to make strides to be a leader in North America in reducing carbon emissions—more than tripling renewable energy from 9% to 30% over the past decade. We are on track to have approximately 60% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2022. 

Muskrat Falls hydroelectricity coming across the Maritime link will be key to achieving this. Given Nova Scotia’s limited hydroelectric resources, further transmission capacity and regional interconnections are essential to helping us grow our renewable energy capacity.

At the centre of this planning process is our 2020 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). This is a 25-year planning tool that looks at how we can dramatically reduce carbon emissions over time, while continuing to meet the energy needs of our customers in an affordable and reliable way. 

Over the last year, we’ve been engaging with over 50 organizations and over 100 experts and individuals across Nova Scotia. The IRP is a roadmap for the future, and this engagement helps make it a better plan—for Nova Scotia Power, our customers and our employees. Our customers and stakeholders rightfully expect us to be responsive and to make sure we do our part to reduce our carbon footprint and slow the impacts of climate change. This means we must explore opportunities to accelerate this transition.

As you might have heard back in September 2020, the Government of Canada is showing their intent to support the Atlantic provinces in a accelerated move to building back greener through a Clean Power Fund, which will be used for projects like the Atlantic Loop to connect clean, Canadian energy supply to provinces that need it most.

Over the last year, we’ve actively worked with the Federal and Provincial Governments and our neighbouring utilities as part of the Atlantic Clean Power Planning Committee. We look forward to working together to build a clean power network across the region, and – importantly – how to do it affordably for customers.

We will Build Back Better; we will Build Back Greener and we will Build Forward Better…together.

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