As we begin this new year, we note that several provinces have recently announced and updated their energy plans, which signal important trends in the energy industry. Below are some of the highlights from such provinces.

Alberta:

On November 22, 2015, the newly elected provincial government in Alberta announced the details of its Climate Leadership Plan. This plan focuses on phasing out all pollution created by burning coal and transition to more renewable energy and natural gas generation by 2030. By such time, it is proposed that, or it will be required that, renewable sources will power two-thirds of the replacement electricity (and comprise up to 30 percent of Alberta’s total electricity production), with natural gas making up the difference. This plan also includes a carbon pricing scheme and overall oil sands emission limit, as well as a methane reduction strategy. Further details of the plan and a video of the announcement can be found below:

Saskatchewan:

The following day, November 23, 2015, Saskatchewan followed suit and announced it commitment to a sustainable future. The province will use a “renewable portfolio standard,” a policy tool used in B.C. and in more than 30 U.S. states including California, Texas and Hawaii. It directs public utility SaskPower to source a given share of its electricity from renewable sources. Under the new policy, by 2030 the utility will be required to source half of its electricity from renewable sources—mostly wind, but also solar, biomass, geothermal and hydro. It will do so via a competitive bid process. In 2016, the province will source 100 megawatts of wind power, and then an additional 1,600 MW worth between 2019 and 2030.   SaskPower will also source 60 megawatts of solar via competition in 2016. The Province is also reviewing its current “net metering” program, which allows homeowners to sell clean power back to the grid, with an eye to boosting participation.

New Brunswick:

The New Brunswick Energy Commission, appointed in 2010 with a mandate to recommend a progressive 10 year energy plan for the Province of New Brunswick, issued its final report on December 10, 2015. The overlying theme of the recommended energy plan is to ‘transition to a system that is fuelled by renewable energy where possible in a time frame that is affordable and which meets environmental standards’. This reflects one of the action items identified in The New Brunswick Energy Blueprint released in 2011–to increase the provincial Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard to a minimum of 40 percent of New Brunswick’s in-province sales by 2020.  In order to achieve this goal, renewable energy policy framework and supporting regulations have under the Electricity Act have been implemented.  Links to the New Brunswick Energy Commission 2010-2011 Final Report, New Brunswick Energy Blueprint and the New Brunswick Energy Blueprint Final Progress Report below:

Nova Scotia:

There was also news in December 2015 on the renewable energy front in Nova Scotia as the Nova Scotia Department of Energy released “Our Electricity Future – Nova Scotia’s Electricity Plan 2015-2040”.  Following two years of consultation, this plan identifies the strategies and actions that will be implemented to achieve price stability, cleaner energy and more choices for Nova Scotia residents.  This is consistent with the legislated targets put in place by the provincial government under the Electricity Act.  The target set by legislation was to have 40% of the province’s energy derived from clean renewables by the year 2020 – the provincial government now expects to achieve this target will be achieved by 2018.  One interesting component of this plan is the Marine Renewable Energy Strategy which has a target of 300 MW of commercial tidal development. Link to Nova Scotia’s “Our Electricity Future – Nova Scotia’s Electricity Plan 2015-2040” below: