Nova Scotia Power was the major target of the province’s climate change plan released Friday.
The plan calls for greenhouse gas emissions to drop 10 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. NSP produces just under half of Nova Scotia’s emissions, and will face hard caps to meet the target.
The caps take effect in 2010, 2015 and 2020, and will require NSP to move away from its coal-fired plants towards renewable energy.
But the details of how to meet the targets are still up in the air.
“We’re determining the outcomes. We’re not dictating to Nova Scotia Power how they’re going to reach those targets,” said Environment Minister David Morse.
“But we are setting the targets and we’re setting them realistically.”
Ways to reach the targets include “greening the grid” by harnessing more tidal and wind power, using clean coal technology, or more natural gas.
There’s some cost associated with all of those, and Morse expects power rates to rise over the years because of it.
But he said short-term costs will be offset by long-term gain.
“It’s highly possible that power rates are going to go up because energy costs are going up,” said Morse.
“But we want to make sure that we deliver the most cost-effective power generation, including both the environment and the economy.”
More details of how NSP will cut pollution are expected to come out over the next month as government meets with the utility to iron out the details. The plan calls for the province’s annual emissions to be 2.5 megatonnes lower by 2015 than they are now.
They must be five megatonnes lower by 2020.
Meeting the goals of the plan will also require overhauling the way we get around. Currently about one quarter of the province’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation.