IDENTIFYING AND OVERCOMING BARRIERS TO COMMUNITY POWER IN NOVA SCOTIA
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Community power is an alternative to the fossil-fuelled, centralized approach to electricity generation. Typically, community power involves low-carbon or renewable forms of electricity generation developed in relatively small generation facilities distributed geographically, entirely or in part owned by the local community. Community power has been found to improve the efficiency of energy systems by decreasing transmission losses and making better use of the heat by-product. Other benefits include increased community acceptance of renewable energy technologies, expedited deployment of renewable technologies, and rural economic development. This study identified how the Canadian province of Nova Scotia could develop a viable community power sector by learning from leaders in the field, namely Denmark and Ontario. Case studies of these leading jurisdictions were developed through literature reviews and interviews with key informants. Next, the conditions for success for community management of common pool resources were compared to the case studies to draw parallels between conditions for success in community power sectors in Denmark and Ontario. It was found that many of the conditions for successful community management of common pool resources were similar to those that realized viable community power sectors with the exception of ‘the relationship between the resource system and institutional arrangements.’ The conditions fell under the themes of: ‘resource system characteristics;’ ‘group characteristics;’ ‘the relationship between resource system and group characteristics;’ ‘institutional arrangements;’ and ‘the external environment.’ At the time of study, Nova Scotia was taking the initial steps to creating a community power sector. By way of interviews with key informants in the province, barriers to a viable community power sector were identified. Next, drawing from the experiences of the Denmark and Ontario, methods to overcome the barriers were identified. Recommendations for the Nova Scotia Departments of Energy, the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, the Department of Natural Resources, CEDIF businesses, municipalities, renewable power proponents, and academic institutions were concluded from this study. The recommended path will enable a successful community power sector in Nova Scotia, which will in turn help achieve the provincial renewable electricity targets, enable a more stable and efficient energy system, and increase economic prosperity, particularly in rural communities. The recommendations are specific to Nova Scotia, although they may inform steps to successful community power sectors in similar jurisdictions.