Atlantic Electricity Vision
Together, we can build an affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity system in our region, today
The Conservation Council of New Brunswick and the Ecology Action Centre are excited to launch the Atlantic Electricity Vision series of reports, webinars and research to show that affordable, reliable, sustainable electricity is possible in our region, right now. Cleaner electricity can help make us safer, more secure and healthier. We can use it to help make electricity affordable for everyone, reliable for when we need it, and cleaner for our health and for our planet.
Our definition of cleaner electricity has two components. First, cleaner electricity relies primarily on non-polluting sources like wind, solar and existing hydro technologies and it is used efficiently. These renewable technologies have lower environmental impact than electricity generated from coal, oil and natural gas that generate greenhouse gases when burned causing the global heating that is supercharging our weather. Second, our sustainable electricity portfolio needs to be affordable and reliable.
The Atlantic Electricity Vision series is focused on the transition to electricity that phases out coal and ensures our regional electricity system is 90 per cent emissions free before 2030 as required by federal policy and climate change regulations. As a key part of the Just and Green Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, clean electricity can build green careers, bring health and economic benefits to communities and help us emerge from the pandemic better off than when we began.
Two studies, A Comparative Analysis of Select Legislated Electricity Regimes in Eastern Canada and the New England Region, and, A Comparative Analysis of the Legislated Electricity Regimes in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, by East Coast Environmental Law (ECEL) for CCNB and EAC show that government rules stand in the way of spending more to help low-income households spend less on energy; prevent utilities from considering the social and environmental costs of our electricity choices, and fail to send long-term signals to plan now for a zero-emitting electricity system over the next 20 to 30 years.
In other words, the public interest is narrowly defined by New Brunswick and Nova Scotia legislation and regulations to focus only on financial costs to utilities and ratepayers. Government rules fail to consider environmental and social dimensions. This narrow understanding of the public interest poses barriers to securing the best outcomes for low-income households and our health through clean electricity portfolios.
A third report, Comparative Analysis of Long-Term Resource Plans and Energy Scenarios by the Energy Futures Group shows that electricity plans that favour cleaner electricity are cost competitive. In fact, of the 24 electricity plans reviewed, 80 per cent of the scenarios favouring efficiency and renewable energy were cheaper or within just a few per cent of the scenarios favouring conventional, polluting technologies.
We know that cleaner electricity is affordable, reliable and sustainable – and it’s ready to be deployed right now. The major barriers keeping us from achieving the clean electricity system we deserve are the outdated laws, rules and targets in our region. We need to update the laws and processes that control how we plan for future electricity systems, in order to ensure a safer, more secure and healthier future with clean electricity. Not doing so is a political choice.