Efficiency offers excellent value

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The point has been made many times: energy conservation has the same kind of value as energy production. While governments across this country look for greener sources, it’s plain that nothing beats a turned-off switch when it comes to not contributing to emissions.

The Nova Scotia Liberals are getting a thumb’s-up on their energy efficiency legislation, introduced just last week.

Catherine Abreu, energy co-ordinator for the Ecology Action Centre, expressed agreement with the gist of the legislation, which would see ratepayers paying for efficiency programs – the benefits of which are ultimately passed on to customers who want to do upgrades.

While campaigning for the last election, the Liberals argued that Nova Scotia Power, given its vast profits, should fund the efficiency programs.

A point made by Abreu is that having the power utility pay for the program presents an odd business case, with NSP in the game to sell energy. Under the proposed legislation, she said, people are paying for efficiencies – as they also are for such commodities as electricity or other fuels.

When we think of the cost to build a generation plant, or the huge deliberations that can go into the placement of a wind farm, wiser use of energy sounds like that much better a deal.

In commenting on the programs, Energy Minister Andrew Younger said it would be tied to an agreement that would see Nova Scotia Power pay about $37 million over the next 10 years to upgrade all low-income electrically heated homes.

As this legislation shapes up, news from the Muskrat Falls hydro project in Labrador is that costs are going up and its completion project could be delayed. According to Younger the cost overruns wouldn’t affect Nova Scotia’s part in the project – transmission of power through a subsea cable and related infrastructure.

But again, with Muskrat Falls figuring in to this province’s long-term energy needs, increased efficiencies would ease the inconvenience of any delay.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Power, Ecology Action Centre

Geographic location: Labrador, Nova Scotia

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