What’s next for Nova Scotia’s clean energy transition?

Last year, 29 per cent of our electricity came from clean energy sources. Now, we’re working towards 60 per cent renewable energy by 2022. We asked Peter Gregg, our President and CEO, to share his perspective and our commitment to a clean energy future for our province. 

The way we make, use, and distribute electricity is changing.  

Here in Nova Scotia, it’s a journey we started nearly 20 years ago, when we introduced the first commercial wind turbines. Since then, in the last decade, we’ve tripled our renewable energy generation from 9 per cent to 30 per cent of our energy mix.

It’s a significant change in how we do business. And we’re not alone in doing things differently.

Utilities, communities and organizations around the world are responding to climate change and working to lessen their carbon footprint. We’re not just evolving our power grid—we’re changing how we live.

It’s an exciting time for the energy sector—and for me personally, it’s an exciting time to join Nova Scotia Power. Our customers want a cleaner, greener future. And I want you to know, we’re listening.

Reducing carbon while balancing cost

Since 2005, we’ve cut carbon by 34 per cent—well ahead of our national goal of a 30 per cent reduction by 2030. We’ve made big strides, but we still have work to do. We’re on track to supplying 60 per cent clean energy by 2022.

While we keep pushing for progress, we know we can’t lose sight of cost. Our commitment to providing customers with safe, reliable and affordable electricity will not change. We’ll continue to do everything we can to manage all the costs in our business and to make sure we’re making the right decisions on where and when we invest.

As part of our planning process, this past November, we filed our 2020 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board. The IRP is a 25-year planning tool that will help inform what our future generation and energy resources will look like. Think of it as a roadmap for our energy future. To help inform the plan, we engaged over 50 organizations, including representatives from the energy community and the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board. And the key theme that emerged? We need to continue to move towards a lower carbon future.

Coal to clean

We can’t talk about our transition to clean energy, without touching on coal. It’s been an important part of our history, but it can’t be part of our future.

Premier Rankin shared his vision to close coal by 2030 in an affordable way for our customers, and we’re on the same page. It’s the right thing to do.

The percentage of electricity generated by coal in Nova Scotia has decreased significantly and will continue to decrease until it’s eliminated completely from our generating mix.  In 2005, coal represented 73 per cent of our total energy supply—this is forecast to decline to approximately 35 per cent in the near term as hydroelectricity from Muskrat Falls becomes available.

Working together and connecting to other clean power sources across Canada

Historically, our grid has been relatively isolated, but with the Maritime Link, we’re connecting to our neighbours in Newfoundland and Labrador to bring renewable generation to our customers. And as we look at opportunities to accelerate our renewable transition, we’re exploring how we can integrate more from other regions. This will be critical for times when wind and solar aren’t available, or can’t meet peak demand for electricity.

We know that collaboration from the Federal and Provincial Governments, our neighbouring utilities, and key stakeholders will be critical as we move forward. With new transmission connections to clean power sources in other parts of Canada, we can meet the growing demand for low-carbon energy. This will also help make our transition off coal more affordable.

Moving forward and building a green economy

This is a challenging but exciting time for our province. We’re committed to playing an active role in building a green economy that will create many opportunities for Nova Scotian businesses and organizations large and small.  

We’re ready to collaborate with all levels of government and the communities we serve to support their climate change goals.  Together we can build a cleaner, greener Nova Scotia.

To learn more about our clean energy transition, visit nspower.ca/clean.

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