Nova Scotia announced three winning bids for wind projects totalling 116 MW last week completing the province’s request for 300/GWh per year of electricity derived from renewable energy. The winning bids include two phases of the South Canoe Wind Project totalling 102 MW, which is being led by a partnership between Nova Scotia-based companies Oxford Frozen Foods and Minas Basin Pulp & Paper. Nova Scotia Power Inc., the province’s monopoly utility, owns 49% of the South Canoe project.
The third project is a 13.8 MW project led by the Municipality of the District of Guysborough in which Nova Scotia Power Inc. has an undisclosed minority stake. This Request for Proposals (RFP) garnered very strong interest from developers with 19 bids coming into the province’s Renewable Electricity Administrator (REA) which equated to about eight times the procurement target.
Nova Scotia has emerged as a leader in wind energy with its strong commitment to meeting the target of 25% renewables by 2015 and 40% by 2020. The province launched a Community Feed-in Tariff (COMFIT) program last year and most of the projects are small wind under the scheme which is set for a review this fall. As part of the review, Solar PV will be considered as a new technology to add to the COMFIT which could open up the Nova Scotia market to solar suppliers and developers from across the country.
The key now is to understand the next steps for renewables across Atlantic Canada and what role independent power producers can play in shaping potential opportunities (free webinar on this subject). Critical decisions are in the pipeline on grid capacity, renewables integration, regional energy coordination and the eventual creation of a renewables export market to the northeast US. The region has tremendous potential to further develop its wind capacity. New opportunities for wind projects are expected in New Brunswick and PEI while Nova Scotia has yet to reveal how it will meet its ambitious target of 40% renewables by 2020.
Grid capacity and energy demand are the main challenge for renewables in Atlantic Canada. Interestingly Nova Scotia is becoming a laboratory for energy storage solutions with at least two COMFIT owners looking to work with energy storage providers on their small wind projects. The idea is that these distribution connected projects can add turbines to their projects if they’re able to store some of the wind energy and put it on the system when the wind’s not blowing.
This September 24-25, over 300 renewable energy developers, suppliers, utilities and government experts will convene for the second annual Nova Scotia Feed-in Tariff Forum in Halifax to network and discuss the critical issues shaping the future of renewables in the region. The forum will address the key topics of grid capacity, policy developments, regional coordination, export potential and project execution. It will also provide the renewables industry with the opportunity to hear firsthand about the potential for adding solar PV under COMFIT, gain an update on Quebec’s recently announced RFP for 700 MW of wind power, identify opportunities opening up in New England and learn about developments in energy storage for wind farms.
There are new business opportunities for developers, suppliers, investors, engineering and construction experts as COMFIT projects and commercial-scale wind projects get underway this fall. Halifax’s forum will offer the renewables industry the opportunity to meet the communities, municipalities, universities and First Nations heading the COMFIT projects and the companies leading large-scale projects across the region.
The emphasis at this year’s forum is on understanding how IPPs can take a lead role in shaping the future of energy policy and markets in this region. Ultimately the potential to export renewable power to the northeastern US is what will drive real opportunities for wind in the region. Currently, the Maritime governments are analyzing infrastructure and market developments that could facilitate export and the forum will provide analysis of current barriers and opportunities. It is key for developers to have a seat at the table for these critical discussions and help shape the future for renewables in the region.
Lead image: Wind turbine in Nova Scotia via Shutterstock
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