The government is taking action on the electricity plan to make the system work better for Nova Scotians by ending a legal requirement to operate the Nova Scotia Power biomass plant in Port Hawkesbury as a must-run facility.
Government amended the Renewable Electricity Regulations today, April 8, to allow for more flexibility in managing the electricity system and to reduce the use of primary forest biomass for generating electricity. During the province’s electricity review, Nova Scotians expressed concerns about the use of primary forest biomass for electricity.
“These regulations placed unnecessary constraints on optimum electricity system planning and management,” said Energy Minister Michel Samson. “Today, more flexibility is possible, and needed, to produce electricity as economically as possible.”
In addition, the regulation change also allows Nova Scotia Power to include renewable electricity generated from approved community feed-in tariff, or COMFIT, projects in its system planning, increasing the accuracy of projected energy costs.
The regulation enforcing the must-run requirement was established in 2013. A must-run electricity generation plant must produce as much electricity as it can, all the time. The biomass facility helped the province meet its 2015 legislated target of generating at least 25 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources. While biomass can be useful and reliable, it has also proven, with current energy prices, to be one of the more expensive energy sources.
Moving forward, Nova Scotia Power must continue to meet renewable targets, but will have greater flexibility in doing so. The biomass plant will remain available to generate electricity only when it is economical to do so or when needed for reliability.