Re: “Nova Scotia says ‘no thanks’ to carbon tax”, by Richard Hurlburt, Chronicle Herald, 20 August 2008.

In his criticism of the federal Liberal’s proposed carbon-tax and its impact on Nova Scotians, provincial energy minister Richard Hurlburt claims that unlike the Liberals with their “theoretical economics”, the “Rodney MacDonald government prefers to take action that guarantees reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.” Mr. Hurlburt goes on to say that since Nova Scotia Power is now required to obtain electricity from renewables such as wind and tidal, there will be a “1.3 megatonne reduction in Nova Scotia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2013.”

Mr. Hurlburt’s assurance (guarantee?) that there will be a reduction of 1.3 megatonnes of greenhouse gases by 2013 is based on a very liberal interpretation of the recently released Nova Scotia Wind Integration Study. According to the study, it may be possible to reach this target if a total of 581 megawatts of wind capacity were added to the grid (an almost tenfold increase in wind capacity over what is on the grid today). However, the authors of the study go to great lengths to explain that further examination of the proposal is needed because the addition of this amount of wind “will need to use a variety of management techniques to maintain system stability and reliability” and may cause the system to “operate in ways it was not designed for and the total cost impacts are not well understood at this time.”

Perhaps Mr. Hurlburt missed it, but at the bottom of every page of the Nova Scotia Wind Integration Study there is a disclaimer which states, “Results are indicative not definitive.”

Guaranteed reductions? Nah—sounds more like “theoretical economics.”

Larry Hughes
Submitted to Chronicle-Herald 26 August 2008—unpublished