Nova Scotia vulnerable to rising energy costs and supply shortfalls: report

    HALIFAX, June 7 /CNW/ - Nova Scotians need secure sources of energy if
they are to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century, according to a
report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
"Energy Security in Nova Scotia" reviews Nova Scotia's existing sources and
supplies of energy and proposes polices that would increase the province's
energy security. Nova Scotia, according to author Larry Hughes, "is
particularly energy insecure, with about 90% of the energy consumed in the
province obtained from sources outside the province, with most of that
originating outside of Canada. The province's reliance on imported energy
makes it vulnerable to changes in world energy prices and supply shortages."
    The province is also vulnerable, according to Hughes, a Professor in the
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Dalhousie University,
"because the pipelines that distribute oil and natural gas from Western Canada
end in Central Canada, leaving the Maritimes without access to most of
Canada's petroleum supplies should energy shortages occur in the Nova Scotia.
This, coupled with Canada's NAFTA obligations to the US, means that access to
Western Canadian energy supplies would require supply cuts across Canada. To
compound the problem even further, Canada-unlike other members of the
International Energy Agency-does not maintain a national 90-day reserve of
petroleum. Energy security should be an issue, but federal and provincial
government policies are doing little to address it."
    Part of the reason for this, the author points out, is that "Nova
Scotia's energy strategy, to the degree that there is one, is still based on
increased supplies of natural gas. But the uncertainty surrounding the
province's offshore natural gas exploration and production, the lack of
natural gas distribution infrastructure in Nova Scotia and the inability to
find suppliers of LNG, make it clear that Nova Scotia should not base its
future energy security on natural gas."
    The report states that to increase its energy security, the Province must
adopt the three 'R's of energy security: review existing sources and demand,
reduce demand, and replace imported energy with indigenous supplies. According
to Hughes, "instead of just concentrating on supply, the Province should
examine how the energy is used and match this with the appropriate supplies."
    As an example, the report shows that requiring a utility such as NSPI to
incorporate intermittent energy sources-notably wind-into its mix can be
problematic for the utility, often not leading to the energy savings predicted
by its proponents. "Wind-electricity is more appropriate for space heating,"
says Hughes, "Electric thermal storage units that can be charged
intermittently-charging when the wind blows and discharging when there is no
wind-is one way Nova Scotians can improve the province's energy security. In
the building sector, we must reduce energy consumption through, for example,
improving building insulation, while replacing imported oil with sources such
as solar and wind."
    The report provides numerous suggestions for reducing energy demand. For
instance, in the transportation sector, by 2020, energy demand could be
reduced 20% by steps such as decreasing the highway speed limits to 90km/hr,
improving vehicle maintenance and fuel economy and increasing the use of
public transport. Further decreases could be achieved through replacing road
transport with rail. Energy security could also be improved regarding the
demand for space heating: orienting new buildings on an east-west axis would
allow solar energy to supply upwards of 75% of their heating demand.
    The report contains examples of legislation and regulations that will be
required if Nova Scotia is to improve its energy security and reduce the
province's greenhouse gas emissions.

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact John
Jacobs, (902) 477-1252, cell (902) 430-7461; "Energy Security in Nova Scotia"
is available at

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