Larry Hughes responds

A few weeks ago, I posted a critique of an opinion piece in the August 25 edition of [subscription required] by Prof. Larry Hughes of the Dalhouse University’s Computer Engineering Department. Hughes is currently toiling as a visiting professor of Global Energy Systems at Uppsala University in Sweden. Shockingly, Contrarian is not yet daily reading in that particular corner of Scandinavia, so he only recently learned of my comments. Hughes writes:

Contrary to what you have written, [my article in] has nothing to with NSP’s existing 2010 or 2013 requirements.  The article is about NSP’s new 25% renewables energy target for 2015 — this is made quite clear in the first two paragraphs.

The jumble of targets and deadlines set forth various provincial government plans, strategies, regulations for coping with climate change is confusing. Hughes is correct that I overlooked his emphasis on the NDP’s newly announced, and very tough, 2015 target of generating 25 percent of our electricity from renewable sources, but I’ll leave it to readers to judge whether this obviates my disagreement with several with his assertions.

No one thinks meeting the 2015 targets will be easy. Even if electricity demand remains flat between now and 2015, Hughes says NSP’s use of renewable energy “must grow from 1,068 GWh (gigawatt-hours) in 2008 to 2,919 GWh in 2015, an increase of 1,851 GWh.”

The Nova Scotia Power website gives slightly different figures. It puts renewable generation at 12 percent, or 1,560 GWh, of its total production of 13,000 GWh. That would leave a gap of 1690 GWh, assuming no growth. If NSP’s energy conservation and energy efficiency programs bear fruit, we could conceivably have consume less power by 2015.

No matter what route we take, it’s going to be a tough slog, which is another reason why the province should not be squandering $30 per year on subsidies to home energy consumption.