Canadians pull the plug on renewable energy scheme

Canadian province of Nova Scotia cancels a successful project which rewarded people for generating renewable energy, reports Climate News Network

3499The Canadian province of Nova Scotia, on the country’s Atlantic seaboard, has ended a programme which gave citizens an incentive to produce renewable energy.

The decision, which will initially mean lower prices for energy users, is at odds with widespread warnings that renewable energy must rapidly replace fossil fuels.

One Nova Scotian told the Climate News Network the government’s decision was a backwards step: “They have not only cut the legs out from under independent energy developers … they have stolen citizens’ right to access ownership of energy.”

The scheme is the Nova Scotia community feed-in tariff (Comfit), which was designed to encourage community-based, local renewable energy projects by guaranteeing a rate per kilowatt-hour for the energy the project fed into the province’s electrical grid.

On 6 August the provincial government announced: “This is the right time to bring Comfit to a close; it has achieved its objectives. We are now at a point where the programme could begin to have a negative impact on power rates. Nova Scotians have told us they want stability and affordability when it comes to power rates, and industry wants clarity on the future of the Comfit programme.”

The announcement went on: “No new generation is needed to meet electricity demand, and adding capacity would negatively impact rates as Nova Scotians pay more for energy with small-scale, community-based projects than from other sources.”

Andy MacCallum of Natural Forces, a company which develops renewable energy in eastern Canada, told the Network: “We’re disappointed. Comfit was the previous provincial government’s programme: it’s a political decision: if the project continued then the opposition could accuse this government of forcing energy prices up in the short-term.

“But the scheme benefitted small communities, pulling in tens of millions of dollars in investments which without it would not have come here. The losers will be ordinary Nova Scotians.”

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