Provincial Issues--November-December 2015

Playbook for a Better 2025 - The oneNS Coalition recommended 60 measurable actions in response to the oneNS Report. The plan outlines seven action areas that hold the greatest promise for change, plus a comprehensive accountability framework. Progress will be measured and reported by an independent organization or all-party committee of the legislature, with regular updates online.

The action areas are:

• Early Years: Starting Strong
• Our Future is Young
• Universities and NSCC as Innovation Hubs
• Immigration and Welcoming Communities
• Our ICT Momentum
• Going Global
• Nova Scotia's Ocean Advantage
• Ensuring Accountability and Sustaining Momentum.

The plan calls for unprecedented leadership from, and collaboration among industry, business, institutions, communities, First Nations, labour, post-secondary schools, and all levels of government in order to effectively tackle the problems the province faces and realize sustainable change.

The oneNS Report projected extended economic and demographic decline. The Collaborative Action Plan: A Playbook for Nova Scotians, outlines the action Nova Scotians can take to achieve the Ivany goals over the next 10 years.

The full plan is available at www.wechoosenow.ca


Government Releases Community Feed-in Tariff (COMFIT) Final Report - Since August, the department has issued 49 decisions on new applications and project extensions. In total, the minister approved eight requests for extension and one new application. A further 37 applications and three extension requests were not approved, representing more than 100 megawatts of electricity.
The approved application is for a 50 kilowatt small wind project led by the Municipality of the District of Digby.

A full list of projects can be found at http://energy.novascotia.ca/renewables/programs-and-projects/comfit.

Since the launch of COMFIT, more than 121 project approvals have been issued, representing about 220 megawatts of capacity. By the end of this year, Nova Scotia will have more than 125 megawatts of community-generated renewable energy as part of its electricity supply.

COMFIT was established in 2010 with a goal of bringing 100 megawatts of renewable electricity to the grid. The program was designed to encourage the development of local renewable energy projects by municipalities, First Nations, co-operatives, not-for-profit groups and others.

To read the full review report, visit http://energy.novascotia.ca/sites/default/files/COMFIT%20Review.pdf.

A New Electricity Plan for Nova Scotia - Nova Scotia's electricity future will have more predictable power rates and a utility that is more accountable to ratepayers, more competition and innovation.

Energy Minister Michel Samson released Our Electricity Future: Nova Scotia's Electricity Plan, the province's 25-year electricity plan on Nov. 9. The plan reflects findings from the year-long Electricity System Review, which heard from more than 1,300 Nova Scotians and technical experts.

For the first time, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board will set clear performance and reliability standards for Nova Scotia Power with regular reporting requirements.

Under the plan, Nova Scotia Power could face penalties of up to $1 million annually if it does not meet performance standards. Penalties will not impact rates, but will be paid for by shareholders.

Power bills have two parts. The general rate charged by Nova Scotia Power and a base fuel cost. Through legislation, government will bring in a new three-year rate stability period, from 2017-19, during which power rates will be known by Nova Scotians upfront. To achieve this, Nova Scotia Power will have until April 30 to request a change to the general rate for non-fuel costs during this period.

The company must also file a plan to lock in prices to reduce volatility in the cost of fuel over the three years.

The plan also commits $1.5 million over the next three years to support pilot projects to research technologies related to electricity use and management, storage, solar electricity, and tidal energy.

This year, Nova Scotia reached its target of generating 25 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources, like wind, hydro and biomass. With more regional and local renewable projects planned, including the Maritime Link, the province is expected to easily reach the 2020 target of 40 per cent.

The plan includes the government's decision to allow renewable generators to sell directly to customers.

Government will bring forward amendments to the Public Utilities Act and Electricity Act this fall to support the electricity plan.

Our Electricity Future: Nova Scotia's Electricity Plan is available at www.novascotia.ca/electricityfuture