Nova Scotia New Solar Law a Welcome Ray of Sunshine

Kjipuktuk (Halifax, NS) - Sierra Club Canada Foundation welcomes new amendments to the Electricity Act introduced in the Nova Scotia Legislature last week, which would reduce barriers to adopting solar energy, making it possible for people who are not homeowners to participate and for communities to undertake shared-ownership of solar energy projects. 

“Communities across Nova Scotia have been restricted by unclear policy and legislation relating to the development of community renewable energy projects, especially those that would deploy virtual net metering,” says Greg Goupko, Clean Energy Campaigner with Sierra Club Canada’s Beyond Coal Atlantic campaign. “The proposed amendments to the Electricity Act are a much needed and welcome first step to modernizing Nova Scotia’s electrical grid and offering clean and reliable energy.” 

The proposed amendments nevertheless leave many unanswered questions: 

  • How soon will consultation with communities and stakeholders on the new solar program begin? Nova Scotians are still waiting for consultation on the Sustainable Goals Development Act passed in 2019.
  • Who will lead these consultations, and will the input of Indigenous, African Nova Scotian, low-income communities, and other disadvantaged groups not only be heard but also acted upon?
  • Will the program incentivize participation from underrepresented groups?

As always, the details matter, and Sierra Club Canada Foundation looks forward to seeing what those will be—sooner rather than later.

As the Nova Scotia government takes steps to modernize the province’s electricity grid and pave the way for more renewable energy, it’s imperative that it also reevaluate the NS Utility and Review Board (UARB). It’s an antiquated model that focuses on energy rates, while ignoring the environmental and social costs of Nova Scotia Power’s energy choices. At the very least, we want to see an environmental advocate as well as an advocate for underrepresented and marginalized groups added to the UARB table.

We hope that Premier Rankin’s government will come through with more than nice promises and deliver on a much-needed overhaul to our energy system and that the soon-to-be-released changes to renewable electricity regulations support ambitious climate goals, jobs in community-based clean power, and reject biomass and further investments in mega-hydro.

For more information, please contact:

Greg Goubko, Clean Energy Campaigner, Sierra Club (Atlantic Canada Chapter) / 647-381-4425

Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Programs Director, Sierra Club Canada Foundation / 902-444-7096

Local Chapter: