[HALIFAX, NS] — A new agreement between the province and the federal government won’t require Nova Scotia Power Inc. to wean itself off coal-fired power.
Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent revealed in Halifax on Monday that Ottawa and the province are working on an equivalency deal for greenhouse-gas emissions.
The deal, once finalized, will allow Nova Scotia regulations to trump federal rules if the province achieves equivalent reductions in emissions.
“This will achieve the same greenhouse-gas reductions as the federal approach while at the same time providing Nova Scotia with the flexibility to take an approach that best suits its particular circumstances,” Kent told reporters.
It also allows NSPI to keep using coal-fired power plants.
Draft federal regulations would have required NSPI to close some older coal plants by 2015. NSPI president Rob Bennett said the move would have cost ratepayers “many hundreds of millions of dollars.”
The equivalency deal will not require NSPI to close any coal plants — allowing them to use coal power intermittently during peak hours and seasons.
“This allows us to make the best economic use of the assets that we’ve already invested in in Nova Scotia, and that helps us keep costs down while not exceeding the carbon limitations that have been put on by the province,” said Bennett.
Last year, 57 per cent of Nova Scotia’s energy needs were met by coal power, according to Bennett. That’s down from about 80 per cent only a few years ago. The equivalency deal will not change the province’s stated goal of a 25 per cent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020, according to the Department of Environment.