Regulations coming into effect next year will create new emission limits for the electricity sector for the next 15 years.
The regulations will improve air quality for Nova Scotians and offer potential savings on power rates for the next two years, Environment Minister Randy Delorey said today, Nov. 21.
"The new requirements are part of our overall strategy to transform the electricity sector to cleaner-burning, renewable energy sources, lower greenhouse gases and increase demand-side management initiatives that will benefit electricity ratepayers," said Mr. Delorey. "The amendments to our air quality regulations will allow us to achieve our environmental goals and improve air quality in a way that is more affordable for Nova Scotians."
Starting Jan. 1, multi-year caps will replace annual limits imposed on Nova Scotia Power Inc.'s generating stations. The change mirrors the province's approach to greenhouse gas regulations and ensures environmental targets are met. It will encourage the utility to use renewable energy sources, such as the Maritime Link, and dynamic fuel prices to save $5 million to $15 million on power rates over two years, with the same environmental results.
For the first time, the regulations will also include annual sulfur dioxide emission limits in communities with generating stations.
The amendments also provide an optional program, until the end of 2020, where Nova Scotia Power could make up deferred mercury emission requirements from earlier in the decade. The utility could offer a mercury recovery program, such as recycling light bulbs or other mercury-containing consumer products, which would reduce the amount of mercury going into the environment.
Under the new framework, further reductions in the multi-year limits and local annual maximums would take effect in 2020 to 2030.
By 2030, emissions of sulphur dioxide from generating electricity will be reduced by 86 per cent from 2001 levels. Nitrogen oxide will decrease by 69 per cent from 2000 levels and mercury will decrease 89 per cent from 2001 levels. These reductions will help the province reach an agreement on national air pollution targets with the federal government.
A discussion paper on proposed changes for 2020-30 was released in May 2013. Consultations with key groups on the 2015-19 changes took place in September 2014.
Air quality regulations fall under Section 112 of the Nova Scotia Environment Act.
A summary table of the changes is available at http://novascotia.ca/nse/air/