In December 2015, the Canadian government made a commitment to achieving the goals specified in the Paris Agreement at COP-21. The most significant of these commitments being an agreement to reduce Canada’s annual greenhouse gas emissions to a level that will hold the global average temperature to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. Past greenhouse gas emissions reduction efforts by all levels of government in Canada have focused primarily on power generation (to reduce emissions) and the built environment (to reduce energy demand). Canada’s commitment to the Paris Agreement means that these efforts must be redoubled and similar efforts will need to be applied to the transportation sector, given the emissions associated with this sector.
Road transportation emissions are of particular importance in a province such as Nova Scotia where they are responsible for over 19% of total provincial emissions. A barrier to reducing emissions from conventional road vehicles has been the availability of both alternative fuels and the vehicles to use these fuels. However, over the past decade, considerable progress has been made, especially with electric vehicles, which, if powered by renewable sources of electricity, can result in a reduction in transportation-related emissions.
This report examines some of the risks associated with the adoption of electric vehicles in the province of Nova Scotia through the lens of three energy security indicators: acceptability, availability, and affordability. It shows that as Nova Scotia Power reduces its greenhouse gas emissions, the environmental acceptability of electric vehicles will increase, albeit not nearly to the degree found in jurisdictions with very low emissions intensity such as Quebec and Ontario. While the availability of electricity is not an issue, the need for increased charging may be a problem during cold-weather driving and, should electric vehicles become popular, Nova Scotia Power will need to address the issue of uncoordinated electricity charging by upgrading its grid and implementing a smart grid.
The report also considers some of the affordability issues associated with electric vehicles in Nova Scotia. While the per-kilometre cost of driving an electric vehicle is less than that of a conventional vehicle (in part because of the various road and fuel taxes that electric vehicle owners do not pay), both the base-cost and annualized-cost of electric vehicles are greater than those associated with many conventional vehicles sold in the province.
Other topics discussed include public perceptions of electric vehicles, the direct and indirect subsidization of electric vehicles, and electric-buses.
Energy security exists in an energy system until an event occurs which increases the stress on one or more of its entities. A resilient entity, designed to recover quickly from an event, will return the system (and, by extension, the affected entity) to its previous secure state. However, if the event occurs repeatedly or the time to recover is deemed too slow, or both, the system may remain in a high-stress, insecure state. In these situations, if the stress is to be reduced, the entity must be adapted to handle the event and put the system into a new, secure state.
This paper applies research from a variety of disciplines to analyze the temporal effects of events on entities, and shows how resilience and adaptation contribute to the existence of energy security in energy systems. It underscores the importance of time when discussing the impact of events on an energy system and employs methods associated with reliability, notably mean time between failures (MTBF), mean time to recover (MTTR), and tolerance, to describe resilience and adaptation. The analysis is presented and discussed with examples using three common energy security indicators.
Energy (free access until 16 June 2015).
In order to maintain or improve a jurisdiction's energy security, its energy system needs to meet the demands of its energy services with affordable and preferably environmentally acceptable flows of energy. Since diversity can be a factor in the long-term survival of a system, having a diversity of energy flows is frequently treated as a proxy for energy security.
This paper examines the relationship between energy security and the diversity of an energy system's energy flows using a set of energy security indicators and the Shannon-Wiener diversity index. Although diversity may be considered necessary for maintaining and improving energy security, the quantitative analysis of the relationship shows that an energy flow considered diverse need not be secure and that a secure energy flow need not be considered diverse. Examples of this relationship are included. These findings can prove useful to policy makers and energy analysts when developing transition strategies for a jurisdiction's energy system.
Electrical-energy storage has the potential to provide a wide range of services that benefit the grid, including peak shifting, frequency regulation, and voltage support. Interest in storage is growing despite the many barriers preventing it from competing against technologies that provide similar services. While technical issues remain at the forefront, barriers also exist in the policy and regulatory sphere. This paper examines some of the policy and regulatory issues surrounding storage and, when possible, offers potential solutions from North American jurisdictions. The main areas of focus are problems dealing with the value of grid services offered by storage, its classification within the regulatory framework, and the market rules ensuring fair competition with traditional technologies. This information can ideally act as a guide to regulators and policy makers globally who wish to explore the introduction of storage into their grids.
Energy systems change over time as events, such as grid failures, new energy sources, and extreme weather conditions, occur, often affecting the system’s energy security. Understanding events, their causes, and how they are handled, can help a jurisdiction and its energy stakeholders develop better, evidence-based energy policy.
This paper employs a definition of stress in combination with systems analysis to specify methods for explaining the states through which an energy process, chain, or system passes in response to an event and how this response results in energy security improving, deteriorating, or being maintained. The definition uses three dimensions—availability, affordability, and acceptability—derived from the International Energy Agency’s definition of energy security to show when and how a system’s energy security will change. Examples are used to illustrate the application of the methods.
Nova Scotia Power is promoting the Maritime Link as the “lowest cost energy solution for our province’ and the provincial government as offering Nova Scotians the “lowest and fairest” possible electricity rates. Despite the concerns of many Nova Scotians over both the Maritime Link and the lack of consideration of alternatives, the Utility and Review Board has been asked to determine whether the Maritime Link “represents the lowest long-term cost alternative for electricity for ratepayers in Nova Scotia”.
Unless the legislation and associated regulations requiring Nova Scotia Power to supply 40% of its electricity from renewable sources are repealed or amended, by 2020, Nova Scotia Power will have undergone a radical transformation in the way it produces electricity. However, without an equally radical transformation in the way Nova Scotia Power‘s customers are charged for electricity, Nova Scotians will miss out on an important opportunity brought about by the 40% renewables target.
This submission recommends that should the Utility and Review Board approve the Maritime Link, the following rider be attached, requiring Nova Scotia Power to:
13 June 2013
The March 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station affected both short- and long-term energy-security in Japan, resulting in crisis-driven, ad hoc energy policy and, because of the decision to shutter all nuclear reactors, increased the country’s demand for fossil fuels, primarily natural gas. However, the effects of the accident on energy security were not restricted to Japan; for example, the worldwide availability and affordability of liquefied natural gas were affected by Japan’s increased demand; while the accident itself resulted in the loss of public acceptability of nuclear power and led countries, such as Germany and Italy, to immediately shut down some of the nuclear reactors or abandon plans to build new ones.
This paper examines some of the short-term effects on global energy security following the accident at Fukushima, focusing on the main replacement fuel, liquefied natural gas. It shows, amongst other things, that the accident increased investment in liquefied natural gas projects around the world. The paper shows that despite Fukushima contributing to nuclear power’s loss of acceptability in most developed countries, it is still seen as an essential way of improving energy security in many countries and, despite what its critics may say, will probably continue to be used as a significant source of low-carbon electricity.
Energy Policy, Volume 59, August 2013, Pages 86-101
The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station received worldwide attention in March 2011; since then, much of the reporting has been limited to stories such as the state of the reactor, the trans-Pacific movement of flotsam caused by the tsunami, and the effect of the tsunami and accident on Japanese communities. Other than the closure of Japan’s last operating reactor in May 2012, little has been discussed outside of Japan regarding the policies introduced in response by the Japanese government in its effort to maintain Japanese energy security and the effects on Japan’s electricity suppliers and the Japanese people.
This paper presents a detailed examination of the crisis-driven changes to policy and regulations instituted by the Japanese government and electricity suppliers in the immediate aftermath of the accident up to May 2012. The disruption to Japan’s long-term energy policies is discussed in terms of the country’s need to maintain its energy security. The paper also considers a number of different energy futures for Japan in light of the accident and how they could improve energy security in terms of availability, affordability, and acceptability.
Energy Policy 14 September 2012 (online)
A letter to the Nova Scotia Round Table on Environment and Sustainable Prosperity emphasizing the importance of energy security in developing a sustainable society and the need for this to be reflected in Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act or its regulations, or both.
A framework designed to capture the evolution of energy security in an energy system by analyzing the results of indicator-specific metrics applied to the energy, demand, and environment flows associated with an energy system’s constituent processes. Energy security policies are treated as flows to processes and classified into one of three actions affecting the process’s energy demand or the process or its energy input, or both; the outcome is determined by monitoring changes to the three indicators derrived from the International Energy Agency’s definition of energy security..
A report conducted for Nova Scotia Power examining the potential reductions in greenhouse gas emissions associated with electric vehicles in Nova Scotia using Nova Scotia Power’s present and expected fuel mix until 2020.
Presentation to ENVS 1000 (27 January 2011).
A textbox for the Global Energy Assessment’s Knowledge Module 5: Energy Security
With the exception of two oil shocks in the 1970s, world oil production experienced steady growth throughout the 20th century, from about 400,000 barrels a day in 1900 to over 74 million by 1999. Projections for 2030 suggest that production will increase to almost 104 million barrels a day. If this target is met, world oil production will have exceeded 1,900 gigabarrels (billion barrels) in the span of 130 years.
Almost all of the oil products humans consume come from sources which are non-renewable. With this in mind, this paper considers how long world oil production can continue to grow or if it will eventually plateau or peak and then decline. The paper concludes with the observation that whether peak oil has already occurred or won’t occur for many years, societies should prepare for a world with less oil.
Renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and wave, are often seen as possible replacements for fossil fuels; however, electricity generated from these sources is intermittent, meaning that electricity providers cannot use them as dispatchable sources of electricity. This shortcoming can be overcome by matching intermittent supplies of electricity with energy services that do not require a continuous, uninterrupted supply of electricity.
It has been shown that wind-generated electricity, an intermittent source, can meet most of the space heating requirements of a typical household by storing electricity from the wind in electric-thermal storage (ETS) units. Despite this, the intermittent nature of wind still means that there are periods during which there can be either insufficient wind to meet demand or a surplus of wind that cannot be used. In Canada, many proponents of wind-generated electricity call for the export of excess electricity to U.S. markets where a premium is placed on renewable electricity. In a time of volatile energy markets, typified by problems in accessibility and affordability, the best energy security policy is to utilize domestic energy to its fullest before considering exports.
This paper examines how wind-generated electricity can be applied to two fundamental energy services: space heating (for electric-thermal storage) and transportation (for plug-in electric vehicles, or PEVs, such as the Tesla Roadster). The paper presents two charging algorithms, ETS-first and PEV-first, and discusses their advantages and limitations of each.
Text and slides of a presentation given to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board regarding the province’s Demand Side Management program, 19 April 2010.
Energy security is becoming an important policy issue in a growing number of jurisdictions because of volatile energy markets and the production challenges faced by many producers. As a result, policymakers and politicians are looking for tools or methods that allow them to determine the security of the various energy supplies used in their jurisdiction. Ideally, a tool that can create an energy security index should have the objective of producing results that are justifiable, understandable, and reproducible.
This paper describes one such method, which, in keeping with other approaches, employs a decision matrix to produce the energy security index. To meet the objectives, the method relies on quantitative criteria and metrics. Rather than relying on a single set of weights to create the index, the method allows a range of indexes to be produced, thereby offering further insight into the state of a jurisdiction‘s energy security.
In 2007, the Government of Canada announced its medium and long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction plan entitled Turning the Corner, which proposed emission cuts of 20% below 2006 levels by 2020 and 60% to 70% below 2006 levels by 2050. A Canadian government advisory organization, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE), determined the feasibility of these targets and recommended both taxation and technical means to address them. NRTEE’s technical report, Achieving 2050: A carbon pricing policy for Canada, presented a set of “fast and deep” pathways to emissions reduction through the large-scale electrification of the Canadian economy.
This paper examines the likelihood of the “fast and deep” pathways being met by considering the technical report’s proposed energy systems, their associated energy sources, and the magnitude of the changes. The paper also questions the decision to omit non-electrical replacement solutions such as district heating, solar heating, and wind heating.
Canada has been blessed with immense energy resources; however, their distribution is not uniform. One such example is crude oil, which is found primarily in western Canada. Eastern Canada, consisting of the six eastern-most provinces (Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec), produce limited quantities of crude oil, most of which is exported to the United States. Ideally, western Canadian crude oil would meet the demands of eastern Canada; however, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the absence of oil pipelines means that eastern Canada increasingly relies on supplies of crude oil from a small number of oil exporting countries, many with declining production.
This paper examines crude oil production, supply, and its refining in eastern Canada. It shows that crude production in the region has reached its peak and that increasing global competition for crude oil will affect energy security in eastern Canada, either through price increases or supply shortages, or both.
Despite its potential as a secure and environmentally benign source of electricity, wind’s intermittency is proving to be a challenge for many electricity suppliers. One approach to overcoming this intermittency is to match it with a load that can be made to follow the wind, such as electric thermal storage systems for space heating. In such configurations, wind-generated electricity can be used for space heating and, if sufficient surplus remains, recharging the thermal storage system. When there is a demand for heat but no wind available, the thermal storage system can discharge, meeting the space heating requirements. In extreme cases, when the thermal storage system is fully discharged and there is no wind, some form of backup energy source is required.
This paper examines the technical potential of off-peak electricity to ensure that wind-charged thermal storage systems are able to bridge periods of insufficient wind. The simulations show that wind-heating with off-peak backup can reduce surplus electricity generated from the wind and greenhouse gas emissions. The benefits as well as the limitations of the approach are discussed.
Worldwide, many electricity suppliers are faced with the challenge of trying to integrate intermittent renewables, notably wind, into their energy mix to meet the needs of those services that require a continuous supply of electricity. Solutions to intermittency include the use of rapid-response backup generation and chemical or mechanical storage of electricity. Meanwhile, in many jurisdictions with lengthy heating seasons, finding secure and preferably environmentally benign supplies of energy for space heating is also becoming a significant challenge because of volatile energy markets.
Most, if not all, electricity suppliers treat these twin challenges as separate issues: supply (integrating intermittent renewables) and demand (electric space heating). However, if space heating demand can be met from an intermittent supply of electricity, then both of these issues can be addressed simultaneously. One such approach is to use off-the-shelf electric thermal storage systems.
This paper examines the potential of this approach by applying the output from a 5.15 MW wind farm to the residential heating demands of detached households in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island. The paper shows that for the heating season considered, up to 500 households could have over 95 percent of their space heating demand met from the wind farm in question. The benefits as well as the limitations of the approach are discussed in detail.
ERG200806 presents a graphical technique for explaining the relationship between energy security and greenhouse gas emissions. The software and instructions for using the software can be found here:
Nova Scotia Power recently announced its intention to purchase electricity from a 60 MW biomass facility near Point Tupper operated by NewPage and Strait Bio-Gen (NSP 2009). When fully operational in 2013, the facility is to expected burn between 600,000 and 700,000 tonnes of biomass annually. In fact, NSP’s plans for biomass extend well beyond the 60 MW biomass facility and include co-firing biomass with coal.
However, biomass has other uses. In many countries, it is a secure and environmentally benign source of energy for space heating. Assuming that the planned quantity of biomass to be burnt in the 60 MW biomass facility can be harvested in a sustainable manner, this report considers the energy security benefits of using the biomass for space heating rather than for electrical generation.
Energy security, unlike climate change, the other major energy-related challenge the world faces in the twenty-first century, cannot be easily measured. Greenhouse gases can be expressed in terms of their global warming potential, while the carbon intensities of carbon-based fuels associated with various anthropogenic activities are well known. The same cannot be said for energy security, as it exhibits qualitative rather than quantitative characteristics.
Despite this, ranking a jurisdiction’s different energy sources would give the public, policy-makers, and politicians a clearer understanding of the jurisdiction’s energy mix and the state of its energy security.
This paper presents a methodology which employs the multi-criteria decision analysis tool, Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), to produce an energy security index for each source making up a jurisdiction’s energy mix. The index, when used in conjunction with the consumption associated with each energy source, can also be displayed graphically, allowing the energy security state to be visualized.
Energy security and the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gas are two of the most significant energy-related challenges facing the world in the twenty-first century. Policies and programs put in place today will have long-term and far-reaching economic, social, and environmental impacts. Despite the importance of energy to the world’s well-being, many people, policymakers, and politicians have difficulty understanding these energy challenges.
The four “R”s is an approach to clarifying energy issues and making energy policy understandable. In this case they are applied to energy security and greenhouse gas emissions: review (understanding the problem), reduction (use less energy), replacement (replace existing supply with sources that are secure or low-carbon, or both), and restriction (limit new demand to sources that are secure or low-carbon, or both).
This paper introduces a graphical representation of the four “R”s known as energy wedges. Wedges allow the long-term effects of energy policy to be visualized and hence explained to—or by—those who are developing energy policies, enacting them, and being affected by them.
This report is a response to Nova Scotia Environment’s call for public input to its plans for regulating greenhouse gas emissions. It examines the province’s proposed greenhouse gas reduction plan and concludes that:
The report also highlights the state of energy security in Nova Scotia. Many of Nova Scotia’s energy imports are from politically unstable regions or from regions where production is in decline. Since all energy importing countries are “in the same boat”, the report argues that it is vital that Nova Scotia act now to protect itself against inevitable energy shortages and unstable energy prices.
Rapid rises in energy price or unexpected energy shortages can change the energy security of a jurisdiction, creating heating emergencies if there are insufficient energy supplies available to meet the heating needs of individuals and families. When the cost of heating becomes overwhelming or there are shortages in energy supply, it will be necessary for these individuals and families to have a means whereby they can be protected against the cold. These reports discuss ways in which goverments, communities, families, and individuals can address heating emergencies:
Energy can be a confusing issue to the general public, policymakers, and politicians. Adding energy security to the lexicon has not provided any clarification. To assist in explaining some of the concepts associated with energy security and to show how an individual or organization can improve energy security, this paper introduces the “four ‘R’s of energy security”: review (understanding the problem), reduce (using less energy), replace (shifting to secure sources), and restrict (limiting new demand to secure sources).
Published in Energy Policy
The need for energy security and the impact of anthropogenic climate change are expected to be two of the major challenges facing humanity in the twenty-first century. Despite their common root cause—humanity’s seemingly unquenchable demand for energy—the solutions to improving energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are not necessarily compatible, since solving one may further exacerbate the other. The apparent lack of understanding and confusion over these two issues on the part of the general public, politicians, and policymakers suggests that there is a need to explain both the commonality and the differences between energy security and greenhouse gas emissions.
This paper presents a graphical technique for explaining this relationship, based upon jurisdiction-specific data on energy supply, infrastructure, affordability, greenhouse gas emission factors, and consumption. The jurisdiction’s energy sources are ranked using AHP (Analytic Hierarchy Process). The resulting security-emissions graphs allow the viewer to understand the state of a jurisdiction’s energy security, the level of greenhouse gas emissions, and the effort needed to improve energy security and reduce emissions.
A presentation to the Halifax Chamber of Commerce Energy Security Committee, describing the three approaches to encouraging greenhouse gas emission reduction proposed by each of Canada’s major political parties. A summary of “Contraction and Convergence” is also discussed.
A presentation given to the Atlantic Canada Association for Science Educators at Saint Mary’s University in July 2008. The presentations considers possible secure and clean energy sources for Nova Scotia, given the world’s present energy situation.
A report submitted to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (UARB) on 15 April 2008 in response to their call for public submissions to the hearings regarding the demand side management (DSM) program being proposed for NSPI. It presents a brief review of the proposed DSM program being presented to the UARB for NSPI. It argues that the program will do little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or improve energy security. Two recommendations are then discussed that can both reduce emissions and improve energy security by giving the consumer the choice of how and when they use their electricity.
A report from the Energy Research Group in response to the Nova Scotia
Energy and its impact on society will be one of the major issues of the twenty-first century. Rising energy costs will increase the price of almost all goods and services. Rising world demand for energy, coupled with problems in producer nations, is expected to result in short- and long-term shortages. Nova Scotia, which imports almost 90 percent of its energy, is ill-prepared for energy price rises or energy shortages or both.
Energy security, the uninterrupted supplies of energy at affordable prices is the responsibility of most governments. Since the release of the 2001 energy strategy, the province has done little to improve the energy security of Nova Scotians. Sable natural gas, Deep Panuke, and a limited number of wind turbines is not the basis of a provincial energy security policy.
The report shows that Nova Scotia Power’s reliance on insecure, high-carbon coal puts Nova Scotians at risk should supplies ever be curtailed. Projected future growth in renewables such as wind will make limited impact on coal consumption.
Broadly speaking, energy security consists of two components: supply and infrastructure. The failure or absence of either will compromise the energy security of a jurisdiction. If supplies of refined petroleum products such as gasoline or home heating fuel become difficult or too expensive to obtain, Nova Scotians could well turn to electricity to meet their end-use energy applications. Those with sufficient income will move towards electricity to meet their transportation needs with, for example, plug-in hybrid vehicles. On the other hand, many who are unable to afford heating fuel will turn to electricity to stave off the effects of a cold winter.
This report considers these and other issues facing Nova Scotians in the twenty-first century. A number of recommendations are given that will encourage Nova Scotians to reduce their consumption of electricity and for Nova Scotia Power to replace coal with energy from other sources.
The report concludes that Nova Scotia is facing considerable challenges when it comes to energy security and that electricity is one of these challenges.
A report from the Energy Research Group in response to the Nova Scotia government’s 2007 Renewed Energy Strategy and Climate Change Action Plan.
This report details how the government’s Climate Change Action Plan, although laudable, fails to explain the impact of the proposed target of a ten percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2020.
The report describes how the target could be achieved through cuts in emissions from coal-fired generation by reducing consumption of electricity and replacing coal with electricity from proposed tidal and wind facilities. In addition, further emission reductions are still required, most of which will be politically unpalatable—including reduction in gasoline and home heating fuel consumption of between 10 and 36 percent.
The report concludes that existing policies are unlikely to meet the 2020 target and that if the target is met, it will be because of energy price rises and shortages, the purchase of carbon credits, or the purchase of electricity from outside the province.
A report from the Energy Research Group in response to the Nova Scotia government’s 2007 Renewed Energy Strategy and Climate Change Action Plan.
This report argues that the government’s consultation paper and proposed strategy falls short in a number of key areas:
The report’s 20 recommendations include a provincial review to establish baselines to track progress and targeting housing and transportation as key sectors for reduction and replacement of energy use.
A presentation on the state of energy security in Nova Scotia, given to Café Canada in Mahone Bay on 30 November 2007.
A report discussing the merits of NSPI’s proposal for a Fuel Adjustment Mechanism (FAM). The report argues that an objective of FAM should be to have the consumer pay for the energy costs associated with the electricity they consume. As it stands, FAM is simply an extension of NSPI’s existing flat-rate billing system. Flat-rate billing—in which the cost of electricity is constant, regardless of the volume used by the consumer—are inherently biased towards to those energy consumers who purchase disproportionately more electricity during times when the utility must use more expensive fuels to meet demand.
Combining FAM with NSPI’s existing flat-rate billing does little to ensure that consumers pay the fuel costs associated with the energy required to generate the electricity consumed. In a time of increasing volatility in world energy markets, everything must be done to give consumers the true cost of the energy they use—in the electricity sector, the report shows how this is best achieved using time-of-use billing with FAM.
An examination of the proposed underground natural gas storage facility to be constructed in four salt caverns in Alton, Nova Scotia, submitted to the Department of Environment and Labour. The report considers the justification of the project from an energy supply and demand perspective—examining possible sources of natural gas for the project as well as which jurisdictions would benefit. The analysis concludes that for the foreseeable future, there are no sources of natural gas sufficiently large to justify the construction of the facility.
NSPI recently released its proposed Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to the stakeholders. This is the response from the Energy Research Group.
In a world of rising energy costs caused, in part, by supply shortfalls, energy security is becoming a major issue in many jurisdictions. Despite Prime Minister Harper’s claim that Canada is an “energy superpower”, Nova Scotia is in the unenviable position of relying on imported energy to meet almost all of its energy requirements. This reliance on imported energy, coupled with weak provincial government energy policies, means that Nova Scotia is particularly energy insecure.
For example, Nova Scotia obtains its petroleum products from Venezuela (a country whose president is engaged in a long-running war-of-words with the United States), the U.K. sector of the North Sea (where oil production peaked in 1999), the Middle East (a region of political unrest), and offshore Newfoundland and Labrador (with its supply problems and the collapse of the Hebron project); production problems in any of these regions could seriously impact Nova Scotia’s ability to meet its petroleum needs.
Strange as it may seem, Nova Scotia cannot rely on the rest of Canada for its energy needs: all major energy corridors for natural gas and petroleum products end in Quebec and Ontario; under NAFTA energy export regulations, reducing exports to the United States to meet Canadian needs would require supply cuts to all Canadians; and the lack of a 90-day supply of petroleum—a requirement for all members of the IEA (except Canada)—removes any possible stockpiling supplies in case of an energy emergency.
This report applies the three ‘R’s of energy security to Nova Scotia: review existing energy sources and demand, reduce demand, and replace imported energy with domestic supplies. By focusing on energy services, such as space heating, it is possible to target domestic sources of energy with their appropriate services.
The report makes a number of recommendations as to how Nova Scotia could improve its energy security in space and water heating and transportation between 2005 and 2020. It also highlights the limited supplies of domestic energy sources that are available to help Nova Scotia improve its energy security.
This report is also available as Energy Research Group report ERG200703. (PDF)
This report considers the limitations on solar energy in new, multi-storey residential buildings in Halifax. In a time of rising energy demand and faltering production, the decisions made with respect to building design will be felt for many decades to come. Buildings can improve their energy security by reducing their heating demand and replacing imported energy supplies with indigenous ones.
The findings in this report are preliminary; however, they show that:
Rising world energy costs, increasing demand for energy in newly emerging economies, and a decline in the number of oil and natural gas producing nations have all contributed to national and international concerns over energy security. If a jurisdiction's energy security is in jeopardy, the common reaction is to seek out other sources of energy from, ideally, more reliable suppliers with large reserves. Such an approach to energy security can be problematic in that it attempts to maintain the energy status quo, in part because of existing infrastructure investments.
This paper proposes a systematic approach to meeting a jurisdiction's energy security needs, consisting of the following three steps: review (an analysis of existing sources of energy, infrastructure, and types of demand), reduce (the development of wedges to reduce energy demand), and replace (the application of wedges that replace imported energy sources with indigenous ones). This approach, referred to as the three ‘R’s of energy security, allows policy makers to obtain an understanding of a jurisdiction’s energy supplies, requirements, and alternatives, thereby permitting the development of appropriate energy security policies.
NSPI’s Fuel Adjustment Mechanism (FAM) is intended to reduce the need for repeated rate hearing by adjusting electricity rates at regular intervals. One of the benefits of FAM is that it can more accurately reflect the cost of generation. Despite this benefit, FAM does not address the issue of rising energy costs, which will continue to impact consumers -- as it does now with existing rates.
Although FAM is somewhat fairer than NSPI’s existing rate structures as the cost of generation can be passed on to consumers at regular intervals, the proposed FAM rate structure lacks the mechanisms to address subsidization or peak consumption. This letter proposes that FAM should be expanded to include time-of-day metering to more accurately reflect the true cost of energy consumption by NSPI's consumers.
In October 2006, members of the Energy Research Group submitted a proposal to the UARB in response to the request for comments on NSPI’s Integrated Resource Plan (see Input on basic assumptions). The proposal was never included in NSPI’s revised IRP, presented in late February 2007. This letter requests the UARB to instruct NSPI to include the ERG’s proposal in their IRP planning.
A letter to the UARB raising concerns regarding the energy requirements of United Gulf Developments’ “Twisted Sisters” towers for downtown Halifax. The letter was sent to the UARB after the 26 January 2007 deadline, therefore it will not be part of the record.
A review of the Department of Energy's proposed draft regulations for Nova Scotia's "Renewable Energy Standards". The review finds a number of shortcomings associated with the proposed regulations, notably:
Submitted to the Department of Energy on 10 November 2006.
This paper examines the current state of world energy supply and demand, and attempts to evaluate future challenges by considering key energy-system leverage-points capable of influencing global energy trends. Important factors include: population growth, economic growth, energy-demand growth, fossil energy supply, technology improvements, renewable energy solutions, and conservation measures. Understanding the nature of global energy systems is an important step towards the implementation of cleaner and greener energy technology.
Presented at the Second International Green Energy Conference held in June 2006 at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
An analysis and series of recommendations from the Energy Research Group for NSPI's 23 year (2007-2039) Integrated Resource Plan. The report shows that there NSPI's "basic assumptions" are flawed and need to be re-examined. Further, given the importance of energy security and climate change, Nova Scotia's future energy needs should not be left in the hands of a single utility.
An analysis of possible options open to Nova Scotia Power in meeting its 2010 sulphur dioxide emission reduction cap.
The Municipality of the County of Kings (Nova Scotia) has proposed changes to their municipal Bylaws to allow the installation of "small-scale" wind turbines (i.e., those with capacities less than 100kW) for households and farms. The changes to the Bylaws were based upon a report, Small-Scale Wind Turbines - Policy Perspectives and Recommendations for the Municipality of the County of Kings by the Dalhousie School of Planning. This paper reviews the Dalhousie School of Planning report, the proposed Bylaws, and makes recommendations with respect to how the County of Kings should proceed with encouraging the development of small-scale wind turbines.
The world price of crude oil is rising, driven by a number of factors, including a seemingly insatiable demand caused by the modernization of China, international tensions in Nigeria, Venezuela, and Iran, the growing reliance on heavy, sour crudes, a lack of rigs, speculators, and the dependence on oil revenues by OPEC countries, especially those in the Middle East. These factors, coupled with the fact that crude oil production is peaking or has peaked in many producing countries, means that policy makers must develop energy policies recognizing that we are approaching a time when oil products are not as plentiful or inexpensive as they are today.Canada is one of the handful of countries that is still able to export crude oil and refined petroleum products. Perhaps because of this, the Canadian federal government and most, if not all, provincial governments do not have energy policies that recognize the need for energy security. Atlantic Canada is one region of Canada that is particularly energy insecure when it comes to oil products; almost all of the region's oil is imported from the North Sea and Venezuela. Although there are limited reserves of crude oil on Newfoundland and Labrador's Grand Banks, most of the production is destined for markets outside the region. This paper examines Atlantic Canada's present energy usage and then considers how rising world oil prices will affect the region. The prospects for alternatives to the current overwhelming reliance on oil products are discussed.
Presented at the Second International Green Energy Conference held in June 2006 at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
Prince Edward Island is Canada's smallest province, with a predominately rural economy based upon agriculture. It also happens to have an excellent wind resource, with a capacity factor in excess of 50 percent recorded in some locations. Since the province is almost entirely dependent upon imported energy (from oil for transportation and home heating to electricity for most other applications), the provincial government has proposed that 200 MW of wind capacity be installed by 2010. This paper considers the possibility of meeting some of the Island's residential space heating requirements with energy from the 200 MW of capacity using one of four methods: electric baseboard heating, off-peak ETS (Electric Thermal Storage), anytime ETS, and generator-supplied ETS. The cost of electricity and the potential greenhouse gas reductions are included in this paper.
Presented at the Second International Green Energy Conference held in June 2006 at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
Space heating is central to any residential dwelling in a northern country such as Canada. Residential space heating is of particular Interest in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, where the housing stock is older than the national average, is less well insulated, and there is a reliance on fuel oil for space heating. Furthermore, there are a higher percentage of people living on low-income in these provinces. An examination of data from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) suggests that despite their similarities, the space heating requirements for Prince Edward Island's residential sector appears to be improving, whereas that of Nova Scotia shows no improvement. This paper attempts to explain the differences by comparing government policies and examining anecdotal information.
The Energy Intellience Agency (EIA) issues Annual Energy Outlooks on the future energy supply and demand for the United States. This year's outlook contains projections to 2030. U.S. Natural Gas Outlook to 2030 examines two of the projections, Canadian natural gas supplies and U.S. natural gas production, and concludes that Canadian natural gas exports will halve over the next 25 years and U.S. natural gas production is peaking or has already peaked.
As the world price of oil increases, the cost of heating a home in many parts of Canada is rising as well. In an attempt at assisting those on low-income meet their home heating needs, some provincial governments have fuel assistance programs to help defray these costs. Nova Scotia's "Keep the Heat" fuel assistance program pays low-income Nova Scotians $250 towards their annual heating bills; such programs may appear generous, but they are may over- or underpay recepients. Another approach, reducing the tax on heating fuel, has a number of shortcomings, including increasing demand (potentially causing fuel shortages and rises in greenhouse gas emissions) and lost tax revenue.
An alternative considered in this paper is to offer those in need a guaranteed price per litre for heating fuel. There are a variety of ways of determining the guaranteed price; one approach suggested is to base the price on an average seasonal price from one or more past heating seasons.
Regardless of the approach taken, the number of Canadians in need of assistance will rise as the price of energy continues to rise, putting strains on government finances. The final part of the paper discusses a residential energy security strategy, that decreases Canada's dependence on fossil fuels through the use of solar energy, the reduction of residential energy demand through home energy upgrades, and the promotion of district heating.
Published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Nova Scotia,
20 March 2006. www.policyalternatives.ca
Natural gas production in Nova Scotia's Sable Offshore Energy Project (SOEP) is in serious decline, almost 30 percent below its peak in November 2001. This decline will continue as the existing three Tier I fields have peaked and the two Tier II fields appear to have peaked. The Nova Scotia government's push for the Deep Panuke project and LNG (liquefied natural gas) can be explained by the decline of the Sable fields. This paper reviews the state of SOEP.
This report examines NSPIs proposed DSM programme, highlighting its inadequacies and shortcomings, and recommending, amongst other things, a provincial lighting programme that will reduce electrical demand by between 82 and 133 GWh and NSPIs greenhouse gas emissions by about one percent (more that what will be achieved by the Pubnico Point windfarm).
The report is part of the Energy Research Groups submissions to the UARB rate hearings.
In the absence of a government "progress report" the current paper reviews some of the major events in Nova Scotia's energy sector in 2004. This paper shows that offshore activity continues to decline; that liquefied natural gas is needed in order to make the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline economically viable; and that the Electricity Act benefits Nova Scotia Power more than the average Nova Scotian. The paper also considers other issues, showing that the province is failing to adequately address important concerns such as climate change and energy security.
Published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Nova Scotia, 26 July 2005. www.policyalternatives.ca
With Jeff Bell. Accepted to Energy Policy.
This paper demonstrates this by removing the equivalent residential emissions from category A.1.a (Public Electricity and Heat Production) and applying them to category A.4.b (Residential) in Nova Scotia, a Canadian province that relies heavily on fossil fuels for electrical generation. The shift in emissions changes an apparent 4.1 percent decrease in Nova Scotia's residential emissions between 1991 and 2001 to an 8.2 percent increase.
With Kathleen Bohan, Joel Good, Khosrow Jafapur. Accepted to Energy Policy.
An alternative to the flat rate is the inverted block rate, in which the customer's consumption is divided into blocks; each block has a price per unit of energy consumed, which increases with each succeeding block. By varying each block's price, the energy supplier can introduce price signals as well as addressing the issue of cross-subsidization. Furthermore, the inverted block rate can work with induction meters, meaning that it is not necessary to upgrade each customer's meter.
This paper presents a detailed examination of the inverted block rate and considers a hypothetical implementation of the inverted block rate using residential consumption data from a small Canadian electrical utility.
This paper examines the prices in terms of the net present value (NPV) calculations used by NSPI in their Green Power Rider application of late 2001. The paper shows that the pricing formulae developed for this Solicitation will not allow IPPs to generate sufficient revenue to cover their costs. Several alternative prices and pricing arrangements are then discussed. Finally, the paper considers ways in which the provincial government could act to ensure the development of a viable renewable electricity sector in Nova Scotia.
The Second Interim Report makes seven recommendations for net metering, none of which favour the customer who is generating electricity. This paper considers the recommendations, highlighting the limitations of each. A series of alternate recommendations are proposed.
This paper's examination of the proposed recommendations for renewables and a provincial RPS shows that they will have a negligible impact on either Nova Scotia's renewable energy industry or its greenhouse gas emissions. The paper proposes a RPS that would make significant inroads into Nova Scotia's greenhouse gas emissions, at the same time encouraging a provincial renewable energy industry.
For information on the Nova Scotia Wind Energy Project (NSWEP), please click here.
Contact Larry Hughes for more information.
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Last updated: 15 April 2008