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Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Legislation in Nova Scotia

April 2018

Carbon & Greenhouse Gas Legislation - Nova Scotia

Cap and trade

In November 2016, Nova Scotia announced that it will be implementing a cap-and-trade system across all sectors of its economy. While specifics have yet to be announced, the plan is set to come into force in 2018. In addition, Nova Scotia will adopt a province-wide target that meets or exceeds the federal government’s target of reducing emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. The price of carbon credits, as well as who will regulate the system, is still yet to be determined, though it has been announced that the province will not integrate its cap-and-trade system with that of Ontario and Québec. The existing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulations, introduced in 2009, will remain in place.

As of January, 2018, Nova Scotia has yet to implement the cap and trade system.  However, the province has carried out public consultations and released a report [PDF] outlining options for how such a program could be designed. The report notes that draft regulations are to come. 

Coal plants

In connection with the announcement on cap-and-trade, Nova Scotia and the federal government have come to an agreement in principle that will allow the province to keep its coal-fired electricity plants open beyond the 2030 federal deadline. Part of the agreement stipulates that Nova Scotia will be required to achieve deeper emission reduction targets in order to meet the equivalent of closing all coal plants by 2030. There is no current deadline as to when Nova Scotia’s remaining coal plants will be required to shut down.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulations

In 2009, Nova Scotia released its Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulations, establishing province-wide caps on the emissions of the electricity sector as a whole. The amount of emissions that can be generated each year by the electricity sector declines according to a schedule in the regulations during the period of 2010–30. The regulations also create incentives for new transmissions that will increase the opportunity for the production of “low-emissions electricity,” defined to include solar, wind, sustainably harvested biomass, hydroelectric, ocean, tidal, wave, landfill gas, liquid biofuel/biogas and nuclear power.

Renewable Power

In 2010, the province established a Renewable Electricity Plan [PDF] to encourage improved use and production of renewable energy within Nova Scotia. The plan included a community feed-in tariff program, which ended in August 2015, after over 90 projects were approved for operation. A similar program for tidal energy providers remains in operation.

How does this policy compare with other regions in Canada?

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