Mi’kma’ki/Nova Scotia – The long-awaited draft of the Clean Electricity Regulation, released today by the federal government, will provide strong support to deliver on Canada’s commitment to reach a net-zero electricity grid by 2035 and lays the foundation for Canada to meet its long-term climate goal of achieving net-zero by 2050. In Nova Scotia, this regulation will help ensure that a clean transition is prioritized and the use of fossil fuels even for emergency use is minimized.
“A transition to a clean electricity grid across Canada will help make our energy system more affordable, reduce health effects caused by burning fossil fuels, create jobs and make provinces that commit to this transition attractive places for investment as businesses look to green their own practices,” says Brenna Walsh, senior energy coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre.
“In Nova Scotia, we have one of the dirtiest grids in the country – 43 per cent of emissions come from electricity, compared to the national average of nine per cent. Although progress has been made in committing to get off coal by 2030, we have a long way to go to get to net zero for the electricity grid, but it is possible.”
The Clean Electricity Regulation helps ensure that Nova Scotia is taking advantage of wind and solar – now the cheapest form of electricity ever – and disincentivizes turning on expensive fossil fuel assets during times of peak demand. Bringing projects like the Atlantic Loop online support this by allowing trade with Quebec, providing access to their hydro power when Nova Scotia would have to turn on polluting peaker plants and allowing Nova Scotia to sell wind and solar back when it has extra. This can help drive cost effective decarbonization of our grid, reduce rate increases and protect Nova Scotians from the volatile prices of fossil fuels.
A clear majority of Atlantic Canadians, 77 per cent, are in favour of the Clean Electricity Regulation, higher than the national average of 71 per cent.
“Here in Nova Scotia wildfires and floods this summer have destroyed homes, displaced hundreds of people and taken lives, and has brought the challenges of living in a climate emergency to light for many people,” says Walsh.
“A strong Clean Electricity Regulation will be important to ensure we are doing our part of reducing the further impacts of the climate emergency here in Nova Scotia.”
The regulation as currently written makes exceptions that may extend the life of fossil fuels on the grid past 2035.
“If we want to achieve the goal of a net-zero grid by 2035, loopholes in the current regulation will need to be closed to ensure that new fossil fuels will not be added to the grid, and the guidelines on end of prescribed life (example, currently would leave unabated plants running to 2044) and allowances of fossil fuels for emergency use will need to be tightened,” explains Walsh.
The Clean Electricity Regulation supports the transition to an affordable, reliable and clean electricity grid. Ensuring we get a strong regulation in place quickly will allow us to achieve 100 per cent clean electricity across Canada by 2035.