Wind energy in Nova Scotia’s electrical power generation sector: The development of an effective wind energy regime
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Three major goals of renewable energy policy include security of supply, environmental protection, and economic development and stability. One way in which our society can work towards achieving these goals is through the addition of wind and/or other renewable energy sources to the electrical grid. This can be accomplished through the use of a ‘portfolio of tools’ that includes, but is not limited to, the following tools: regulatory, fiscal, research and development, and public education. Such tools can enable the electricity sector to achieve certain goals that will encourage greater penetration1 of wind and/or other renewable sources. Such ‘electrical sector goals’ include grid access, the right to sell electricity, a competitive/fair price for a unit of electricity, increased affordability of development, greater public support, and skill development and employment. Currently, Nova Scotia has set forth many goals and targets to encourage renewable energy development, and thus, achieve the renewable energy policy goals. With the enactment of the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act (2007), Nova Scotia set forth a goal to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 10 percent of 1990 levels by the year 2020 (Hatch, 2008). This goal was expanded upon in the Energy Strategy (2009), to include an 80 percent reduction in GHG and air-pollutant emissions. Furthermore, the 2007 Renewable Energy Standards (RES) under the Nova Scotia Electricity Act require that five percent of electricity generation from all suppliers in 2010 to be produced from post-2001 renewable energy sources, with this value increasing to 10 percent by 2013 (Hatch, 2008). The Energy Strategy (2009) expanded on the 2007 RES through setting a provincial goal of 25 percent electricity produced from renewable sources by 2020, with the potential to develop as much as 40 percent, using a combination of wind, biomass, tidal, and imported energy (NSDE, 2009). However, many barriers exist preventing greater penetration of wind and other renewable technologies in the province in order to meet these goals and targets. This study presents these barriers as defined through an extensive literature review and consultation with 17 stakeholders within the electrical power generation sector between January 18, 2009 and March 4, 2009. Information was analyzed using an a posteriori coding scheme. Accordingly, the emerging themes (barriers and solutions) identified within the literature review and interview process were emphasized within the final thesis document. Barriers identified broadly include policy, social perception, technical constraints, cost, transparency, market structure, government support, research and development, intermittency, and turbine impacts. Recommendations capable of overcoming or mitigating the barriers to achieve the desired ‘electrical sector goals’ were presented with consideration for the ‘portfolio of tools’ available. Such recommendations broadly focus upon regulatory tools, fiscal tools, market structure, utility restructuring, research and development tools, public education tools, and intermittency and coincidence.