Nova Scotia Schedules Hearings on Tidal Feed-in Tariffs

Nova Scotia has called for hearings on feed-in tariffs for tidal power plants in the Bay of Fundy. The hearings begin 19 March 2013 by the Canadian province’s electricity regulator.

Nova Scotia’s Utility and Review Board (UARB) held the first technical session today outlining the schedule of submissions prior to the hearings. The process is intended to set the feed-in tariffs for “Development Tidal Arrays.”

Currently, Nova Scotia is the only jurisdiction in North America that has a specific tariff for tidal power generation. The province previously set a tariff for in-stream tidal plants as part of its Community Feed-in Tariff or ComFIT.

Nova Scotia sees developing tidal power technology for both meeting its own renewable energy targets as well as for future export. The government says the use of feed-in tariffs will enable it to attract private capital to the province by providing financial “certainty.”

The government instructed the UARB to design a program that would limit rate increases to 1%-2% by controlling the amount of electricity that would be generated under the tariff.

Significantly, Nova Scotia’s Marine Renewable Energy Strategy suggests that the UARB consider tariffs differentiated by size and specifically suggests a 3-MW to 5-MW tranche and a 20-MW tranche.

Nova Scotia’s current feed-in tariffs are differentiated by technology but with the exception of wind are not differentiated by size. There are only two size tranches for wind under the ComFIT program. In contrast the new Italian base tariffs for wind are differentiated by five size classes.

During rate setting for the ComFIT program, the government was particularly reluctant to consider any tariff differentiation other than by technology.

In its directive to the UARB, the government went so far as to suggest that the two size classes were a minimum and that the regulator and its consultant should consider a “sliding rate” as well.

To allow the UARB to set tariffs by size tranches or to set tariffs on a “sliding scale”, the government expects to amend its utility regulations by the end of December 2012.

Request by Ministry of Energy for Tidal Energy Rate Setting

Directive to UARB by Minister of Energy

UARB Schedule of Submissions

Lead image: Ocean waves via Shutterstock

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