News & Updates


Updates to Nova Scotia’s ComFIT and RFP-programs

August 31, 2011

On July 26, 2011, Nova Scotia’s Department of Energy released project standards for participation in the new Community Feed-in Tariff (“ComFIT”) Program. The goal of this program is to enable communities to benefit from renewable electricity programs at a local level.  

The newly released standards offer details about sanctioned turbines for small wind projects (50 kW or less) and provide a limit for approvable projects under this category. A maximum of five small wind projects will be approved per county and only a maximum of three at any one point in the distribution system. These limits, however, are expected to be contested by the industry so it has to be seen if these limits will stand and come into effect.

The Department of Energy has also specified the biomass sources eligible for participation in the ComFIT-Program. These are:

- primary forest,
- agricultural energy crops/residues,
- sawmill and wood processing residues,
- farm-based biogas systems,
- liquid, solid and gaseous fuels made from biomass and
- biosolids.

If you need any further information please do not hesitate to contact us or visit the Department of Energy’s website at

There is further news regarding the ComFIT-Program. The rules for municipality ownership of the projects have been changed. The original rule stated that ownership percentages of at least 25 % by provincial sources and at least 51 % by community groups including municipalities, universities, First Nations, co-ops and Community Economic Development Investment Funds (“CEDIF”) were required to support a project. Now, municipalities must own 100 % of a project. At the same time, municipalities gained a huge advantage over developers since the province agreed to include ComFIT-projects into the Municipal Finance Corp. funding program which allows municipalities access to capital at low rates.

There may also be a change regarding the specific tariffs on the horizon. The financial advisors to the Utility and Review Board (“UARB”) filed compliance rates on August 2, 2011, that in some cases differ from the originally set tariffs. These proposed changes are an attempt to provide an incentive in the achievement of greater efficiency. These differing rates are:

 - $ 499 per MWh for wind energy projects with a capacity of 50 kW or less,
 - $ 131 per MWh for wind energy projects with capacities of more than 50 kW and
 - $ 175 per MWh for combined heat and power biomass facilities. 

It is expected that the tariffs will be finalized in late summer 2011.

The Nova Scotia Power Inc. has, for the first time, published a distribution interconnection queue. Interconnection has long since contributed to delays in the connection process. There is limited distribution capacity in Nova Scotia. This queue was created to alleviate some of the problems associated with interconnection. The queue enables ComFIT-applicants to get insight into the competition on the grid. Currently, there are about 100 MW – specifically around a dozen of 4 MW or 6 MW projects and some 2 MW projects – of applications in the waiting.

There have also been significant changes in Nova Scotia’s Request for Proposal (“RFP”)-Program. A new Renewable Electricity Administrator (“REA”) has been appointed with Carlisle-Massachusetts-based Power Advisory. The newly created REA-position is responsible for the administration of bids by developers for the right to develop new renewable energy projects. Tenders/projects, under the old regime, had failed because developers were underbidding to win contracts for which they were unable to finance. The new changes are an attempt to prevent this practice. The principles of Power Advisory, Jason Chee-Aloy and John Dalton, are well known in Ontario’s renewable energy sector. Jason Chee-Aloy is the former Director of Generation Procurement at the Ontario Power Authority (“OPA”) where he led the implementation of Ontario’s Feed-in Tariff (“FIT”)-Program. John Dalton played an important role in the design of Ontario’s standard offer program as well as advising on the FIT-program.

It will be interesting to track the progress of both the ComFIT- and RFP-Program’s over the next months. The provincial government will begin accepting ComFIT applications September 19, 2011. While local experts expect the RFP-Program to start in early 2012.

Tags: Renewable Energy