N.S. puts feed-in-tariff program on hold

Nova Scotia will stop taking applications for its local-level renewable electricity program pending a review.

The province on Thursday announced seven new approvals under its Community Feed-In Tariff (COMFIT) program, but also that it will “pause and evaluate” the program.

The pause, the province said, is meant to see that COMFIT “continues to be community-based, innovative and contributes to the province’s future energy needs.”

Launched in 2011, COMFIT so far pays over 90 eligible entities a set price per kilowatt hour (kWh) generated from renewable resources such as wind, biomass, in-stream tidal and run-of-river tidal developments.

Eligible bodies include municipalities, First Nations, universities, co-operatives and not-for-profits, plus applicants for combined heat and power (CHP) biomass facilities.

“The program has been successful and will likely exceed its original goal to produce almost 100 megawatts of locally produced energy,” acting Energy Minister Michel Samson said in a release announcing the pause.

Applications filed before Thursday’s announcement will still be processed and decisions will be made “in the coming months,” the province said. New applications will not be processed pending the program review and the release of the province’s electricity plan next fall.

The projects announced Thursday included a wind power project and six biomass projects. Among the biomass plans are four on-farm projects and one at Dalhousie University’s ag campus at Bible Hill.

Groups using CHP biomass technology are paid 17.5 cents/kWh for power generated under COMFIT, while wind power projects generating over 50 kW get 13.1 cents/kWh. Wind projects generating 50 or fewer kW get 49.9 cents/kWh. Nova Scotia Power will pay those rates for a 20-year term. — AGCanada.com Network

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