The NSPC’s Unforced Error on Renewable Energy and Green Jobs

The David Suzuki Foundation called the NDP’s renewable energy plan 1 of the 5 best commitments to fight climate change:

Nova Scotia makes wide-ranging clean energy commitments: A target of having 40 per cent renewable power by 2020, a community-based feed-in tariff for clean power and a new energy efficiency agency to pursue aggressive action in saving energy—these are just some of the commitments coming from Nova Scotia.

The Pembina Institute wrote:

The Dexter government’s commitment to clean energy in Nova Scotia is an investment in the future that will start creating jobs and reducing emissions throughout the province today.

NDP investments like re-opening TrentonWorks to build wind turbines, COMFIT and Efficiency Nova Scotia, and policies including the cap on Green House Gas Emissions and the renewable energy goal have been praised across the country.

If Jamie Baillie won’t take lessons on green jobs from Darrell Dexter, perhaps he could ask Conservative ex-Premier Danny Williams.

But oddly, Jamie Baillie and his Conservatives have decided that attacking renewable energy is good politics (if not good policy). They underestimate Nova Scotians interest in getting off coal, and they underestimate their core demographic’s interest in good green jobs.

Again and again, the NSPCs have latched onto this one phrase in a government document to try to blame rate increases by Nova Scotia Power on renewable energy and the NDP. Here’s the government exerpt in question:

The transition from imported fuels to renewable electricity and cleaner local fuels will increase power bills in the short term, but offer lower and more stable rates in the long run. Not making this transition would shackle ratepayers to the wild price swings and the relentless upward march of international energy markets.

And in the long run, this plan is about making life more affordable — doing nothing would cost more. The share of NSPI’s overall costs that go to fuel has been increasing. So has the cost of expensive equipment and supplies needed to control harmful emissions from coal-fired power plants. We can keep going down that path and doom consumers to an unsustainable future, or we can bite the bullet and make the necessary investments to have a secure, safe, affordable, and sustainable energy economy.

How hard is that bullet? Government estimates that measures in this plan will result in a 1-2% increase annually on electricity bills.

And what do the Conservatives turn this into when they feed that text into their English-to-Populism BableFish translator?

The NDP is asking Nova Scotians to “bite the bullet” on power rates.

Now, Nova Scotians don’t have a lot of love for Nova Scotia Power. It was run into the ground by the Liberals and then privatized by the Conservatives. Both were mistakes. But the rate increases the UARB is awarding to NSPI actually have to do with the rising price of coal – the very thing the NDP is looking to move Nova Scotia off.

This game the Conservatives are playing wins them no votes. Nova Scotians are not rubes. They will choose a party that moves Nova Scotia forward, not one that runs into the past.


One comment on “The NSPC’s Unforced Error on Renewable Energy and Green Jobs

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