Community-based Energy Development Act
BILL NO. 71
2nd Session, 60th General Assembly
56 Elizabeth II, 2007
Private Member's Bill
Community-based Energy Development Act
Cape Breton Centre
First Reading: December 5, 2007
Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:
1 This Act may be cited as the Community-based Energy Development Act.
2 In this Act,
(a) "Board" means the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board;
(b) "community-based energy producer" means an energy producer that
(i) uses renewable energy sources to generate electric power or energy,
(ii) is owned by qualified owners to the extent prescribed in the regulations, and
(iii) produces no more than ten megawatts of electric power or energy connected at distribution voltages;
(c) "feed-in tariff" means a tariff agreement made available by a utility to community-based energy producers under which a community-based energy producer is paid for the supply of electric power or energy to the utility in accordance with this Act and the regulations;
(d) "Minister" means the Minister of Energy;
(e) "qualified owner" means
(i) a resident of the Province,
(ii) a company within the meaning of the Companies Act owned by residents of the Province to the extent prescribed in the regulations,
(iii) an association within the meaning of the Co-operative Associations Act,
(iv) a Mi'kmaq band, or
(v) a municipality or village in the Province;
(f) "renewable energy sources" means
(i) hydropower sources, including wave power and tidal power,
(ii) wind power,
(iii) solar radiation,
(iv) geothermal energy,
(v) energy from biomass, including biogas and gas from landfills or sewage treatment plants, and
(vi) energy sources designated as renewable energy sources under the regulations;
(g) "utility" means a public utility within the meaning of the Public Utilities Act that produces, transmits, delivers or furnishes electric power or energy either directly or indirectly to the public.
3 The Minister of Energy shall
(a) direct the Board to set community-based energy production targets;
(b) direct the Board to set feed-in tariff rates and schedules for community-based energy production; and
(c) promote the development of community-based energy production.
4 (1) The Board shall determine
(a) community-based energy production targets within the context of the government's renewable energy framework; and
(b) feed-in tariff agreement terms for community-based energy production in the Province.
(2) The Board shall consider issues related to
(a) differing feed-in tariffs by renewable energy technology or by geographic area;
(b) estimated rates of inflation and long-term price trends;
(c) regional feed-in tariff policies;
(d) length of feed-in tariff agreements;
(e) system management of intermittent resources;
(f) peak-period pricing; and
(g) the impact of community-based energy development on
(i) economic development and innovation,
(ii) environmental goals, and
(iii) electricity rates in the Province.
(3) Final decisions on the matters set out in subsection (1) must be made no later than one year after this Act comes into force.
(4) Feed-in tariff rates and schedules must be reviewed on a bi-annual basis by the Board.
5 (1) Each agreement for the sale of electric power or energy between a utility and a community-based energy producer that is based on a feed-in tariff agreement must be approved by the Board before it is executed.
(2) The Board shall ensure that a consumer-based energy producer that enters into a feed-in tariff agreement to sell electric power or energy to a utility provides sufficient security to secure its performance under the agreement.
(3) During the first twenty years of a feed-in tariff agreement between a community-based energy producer and a utility for the sale of electric power or energy, no qualified owner may transfer its interest in the community-based energy producer unless the transfer is made to another qualified owner and is consented to by the Board and the utility.
6 Where a utility needs to increase generation capacity or to purchase electric power or energy to comply with the renewable energy standards established pursuant to the Electricity Act, the utility shall take reasonable steps to determine if one or more community-based energy producers can supply that energy or power in a manner that meets the cost and reliability requirements of the utility, applying standard reliability criteria, to meet some or all of the identified need with minimal impact on electricity rates for customers.
7 The Board may require a utility or a consumer-based energy producer to ensure that any transmission facilities necessary to provide for the sale of electric power or energy by the consumer-based energy producer to a utility are constructed or improved in accordance with any standards established in regulations made by the Governor in Council.
8 (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations
(a) prescribing the extent to which a community-based energy producer must be owned by qualified owners;
(b) prescribing the extent to which a company must be owned by residents of the Province to be considered a qualified owner;
(c) determining community-based energy production targets within a renewable energy framework;
(d) designating energy sources as renewable energy resources;
(e) prescribing terms that must be included in feed-in tariff agreements;
(f) prescribing matters in respect of which the Minister shall provide information to the Board for the purpose of Section 3;
(g) respecting security to be provided by a consumer-based energy producer in respect of an agreement with a utility;
(h) respecting the transfer of the interest of a qualified owner in a consumer-based energy producer;
(i) respecting standard reliability criteria to be applied for the purpose of Section 6;
(j) establishing standards for transmission facilities for the purpose of Section 7;
(k) defining any word or expression used but not defined in this Act;
(l) respecting any other matter the Governor in Council considers necessary or advisable to carry out effectively the intent and purpose of this Act.
(2) The exercise by the Governor in Council of the authority contained in subsection (1) is regulations within the meaning of the Regulations Act.
9 The moneys required for the purpose of this Act shall be paid out of moneys appropriated for that purpose by the legislature.
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