The government is making it easier to get an early taste of the future with a $5 discount on natural gas power generation at two new plants.
Natural gas producers in Nova Scotia are scrambling to keep up with demand after the province announced plans to build two new gas plants at a cost of $1.2 billion.
The two new units, expected to start operating in 2019 and 2020, are part of a $1-billion expansion of Nova Power’s fleet of power plants, which has grown from 13 to 18 since it first started operating in the province in the 1970s.
Natural Gas Canada said the two plants are in the works as part of an expansion of the province’s energy portfolio and will help the province meet its goal to generate at least 40 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2040.
The plants will supply Nova Power with more than 80 per cent, or more than a billion cubic feet, of natural gas each year, said Julie Bowers, a spokeswoman for Natural Gas Canada.
The new plants will be about 300 kilometres apart and about two-thirds of Nova’s energy needs come from renewable resources.
Natural Energy Minister Joe Oliver said in an interview Thursday that the two new Nova-based gas plants will help Nova Power meet its target of producing more than 40 per cemeteries per year from renewable energy by 2041.
“We know that Nova Power needs more gas,” Oliver said.
“We know we have to build these gas plants and this is a very important step towards that goal.”
Nova Power said the plants will produce roughly 50 million cubic feet of natural-gas each year.
The company said the gas will be exported to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and that Nova will be the final destination for the gas.
The Nova Power plants will replace the two existing natural- gas plants, located in Prince Edward Island and in Nova’s east.
The two new reactors will be built at the Cape Breton plant.
The Nova power projects come as other provinces around the country have announced plans for new natural gas plants to meet their electricity needs.
British Columbia announced plans Thursday to build its own power plant and export it to Quebec.
Alberta announced a $30-million project to build a new natural-gaseous-gas-fired generation plant at its Edmonton refinery.
New Brunswick announced plans in March for a $250-million power plant.
Nova Scotia has been working to upgrade its fleet of nuclear plants with the development of a new reactor at its B.C. plant and a new plant in the Yukon.
The province also plans to add a new gas plant to the fleet in the coming years.
Natural Resources Minister Joe Lewis said the new Nova plants will have “some of the best gas in the world” and the price will be “fair” for Nova’s customers.
Natural Gas has a history of working with other provinces on projects to make it easier for companies to get gas to market, including a $9-billion agreement between the province and Ontario that created the province-owned Ontario Power Generation Corp. to provide power for about 1.3 million homes.
Nova has also partnered with other regions to develop natural gas storage, including with Quebec.
The first two plants will take the place of existing gas plants in the region, said Peter Haines, Nova’s minister of natural resources.
In Nova Scotia, the two reactors will produce about 100 megawatts of power each year of which 70 per cent will be from hydroelectricity.
The power plant is expected to have enough capacity to power about 50,000 homes.
The new plants are also expected to help Nova power meet its electricity needs more quickly, Haine said.
Natural Gas is building the new plants at an affordable cost, so Nova Power customers can be confident they will get the power they need, he said.