The Ecology Action Centre is pleased that the provincial government has gone back to the negotiating table to reach a balanced deal on the Atlantic Loop with the federal government. Nova Scotia needs to get off coal as soon as possible, and the 2030 deadline that the province has committed to is drawing ever closer. If a deal isn’t reached soon, we will lose the opportunity to engage with federal support for building this project, which is the best path to get Nova Scotia off coal by 2030 and move to a net-zero grid.
The Atlantic Loop would give Nova Scotia a greater ability to trade excess wind power, which we will have significantly more of in the coming years, in exchange for firm dispatchable power from Quebec that could be used when the sun doesn’t shine and wind doesn’t blow in Nova Scotia. This electricity trade would reduce both our demand for fossil fuels and Nova Scotia use of ‘peaker’ plants or natural gas plants when energy demand is high. The reduced emissions in the electricity sector would not only bring environmental benefits, but also help avoid costs if the price of carbon continues to increase.
The province has stated that there are other ways, instead of the Loop, to get off coal and meet the target of being 80 per cent powered by renewables by 2030. While wind and solar are a large part of this solution, the Houston government continues to put forward options that are expensive and/or unproven technologies that have little history in Nova Scotia, like hydrogen, tidal and small modular reactors (nuclear). Nova Scotians have spoken out against bringing nuclear to Nova Scotia in the past, and it is particularly disappointing to see this proposed as a solution.
If the province chooses to step away from the Atlantic Loop, it will be relying on an underdeveloped plan with wildcard solutions, which are unlikely to be in place by 2030. Nova Scotians deserve a clean, reliable and affordable energy system, and the Atlantic Loop is a key piece to get us there. The province needs to stop dragging its feet and commit to this deal.