Fuel Adjustment Mechanism

During your 6:13 news headlines, you mentioned something to the effect that Brendon Haley of the Ecology Action Center was concerned that the proposed Fuel Adjustment Mechanism (FAM) would have a detremental effect on renewable energy in the province.

This claim may have misled some of your listeners, for at least two reasons. First, at this time, we have no idea about the structure of the FAM; it could target specific fuels [such as coal or oil] or it could cover all electricity from all sources. Second, the province has legislation and regulations in place that require NSPI to increase its use of renewables by 10 percent by 2013; if the province sticks to these regulations, it is unclear how the FAM will affect the 10 percent renewable target.

Will NSPI play games to get around the FAM and reduce its renewables obligation? Possibly, but since renewables make up such a small component of NSPI's generation mix, this is unlikely as NSPI will have bigger issues to contend with.

Energy and the environment are going to be central issues in the 21st century. With ever increasing energy costs, programs such as FAM could help people in the short-term, but will do nothing to address the need for energy security in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia's overwhelming reliance on non-indigenous energy and the lack of energy infrastructure connecting us to the rest of Canada make Nova Scotia particularly vulnerable to rising energy costs.

Your listeners may recall the bumper sticker that appeared in Alberta during the National Energy Program of the 1980s which read "Let the eastern bastards freeze in the dark". Without a provincial energy security strategy that addresses the three "R"s of energy security ("review" supply and demand, "reduce" consumption, and "replace" with indigenous sources of energy), Nova Scotians may well be facing the prospect of "freezing in the dark".

Submitted to CBC Information Morning - 23 January 2007