Using less energy, and using energy efficiently, is an important consideration for many Nova Scotians. These efforts both reduce emissions and electricity costs for customers. Programs and activities designed to reduce the demand for electricity are called demand-side management. Often referred to as ‘DSM.’
In Nova Scotia, demand-side management programs are run by an organization called EfficiencyOne. EfficiencyOne is a public utility which is regulated by the Board. The Board, with input from stakeholders representing customers, the government, and environmental groups, approves the nature and cost of these programs. EfficiencyOne is funded through NS Power’s electricity rates to customers.
In addition to the amount of electricity Nova Scotians are using, the type of electricity we are using has become a topic of public importance. The Nova Scotia Government has legislated an amount of 40% renewable generation sources for our electricity by the year 2020. Renewable sources of energy are cleaner than fossil fuels and include energy sources such as wind, hydro, solar, tidal and biomass.
Planning our long-term generation needs
The shift towards renewable energy sources is a gradual one. This is because the cost of producing electricity from these energy sources is currently higher than the cost of using fossil fuel sources and integrating this energy into NS Power’s generation fleet is more complex. It also takes time to build the necessary infrastructure. Planning for electricity generation sources, sometimes called supply-side management, involves a longer time horizon. An important part of this process is an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which is a comprehensive planning exercise carried out by NS Power and its customer groups that considers supply and demand-side options to develop a long-term resource plan for the utility. It attempts to balance customer demand and energy requirements, as well as environmental obligations, cost-effectiveness, safety and reliability. The IRP generally has a 25-year horizon that provides flexibility to NS Power to consider a range of resource (i.e. generation) options. The IRP is reviewed roughly every five years.