Nova Scotia ends must-run requirement for Port Hawkesbury plant

By Erin Voegele | April 20, 2016

In early April, the government of Nova Scotia, Canada, announced it had ended a legal requirement to operate the Nova Scotia Power biomass plant in Port Hawkesbury as a must-run facility.

The regulation enforcing the must-run requirement was established in 2013. According to information released by Nova Scotia, a must-run electricity generation plant must produce as much electricity as it can, all the time.

Within its announcement, the government cited energy prices and concerns from citizens about the use of primary forest biomass at the plant as reasons leading to its decision. “While biomass can be useful and reliable, it has also proven, with current energy prices, to be one of the more expensive energy sources,” said the government in the announcement.

The announcement also notes the Port Hawkesbury plant helped Nova Scotia meet its 2015 requirement to generate at least 25 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. “Moving forward, Nova Scotia Power must continue to meet renewable targets, but will have greater flexibility in doing so,” states the announcement. “The biomass plant will remain available to generate electricity only when it is economical to do so or when needed for reliability.”

The regulation change also allows Nova Scotia Power to include renewable electricity generated from approved community feed-in tariff, or COMFIT, projects in its system planning, increasing the accuracy of projected energy costs.