The Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Industry Association (NEIA) says the implementation of renewable energy policies is critical to the growth of the green energy sector in the province.
“Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province in Canada without policy designed to encourage the development and use of renewable energy technologies,” says Ted Lomond, NEIA’s Executive Director. Lomond says the province’s policies are out of step with the rest of North America.
“As a result, not only are we discouraging business owners and entrepreneurs from innovating new green products and services, but we are preventing widespread use of proven clean energy technologies” says Lomond. “Newfoundland and Labrador is turning away economic and environmental benefits that are being supported on a global scale.”
Lomond says other jurisdictions in Canada began implementing net metering and/or feed-in tariffs over a decade ago. Net metering enables residential and commercial customers to use their own electricity sources (e.g. wind and solar), so that they will purchase electricity from the grid only when needed. Feed-in tariffs allow for connecting small residential or commercial energy sources to the grid and selling electricity to the power company.
“There are businesses in this province developing green technologies and hoping to provide environmentally sustainable electricity,” says Lomond. “We have firms here involved in wind, solar, biomass, and even ocean wave energy production. But Newfoundland and Labrador policies actually discourage them from operating.”
“We risk losing these promising businesses to other jurisdictions.” Lomond notes the issue is not just about firms in the business of selling clean energy. “This is about competitiveness. Freeing local firms to consider how they might offset some or all of their energy consumption allows them to innovate, reduce operating costs, and increase competitiveness.”
Lomond says environmental sector businesses have been pushing for updated provincial regulations for years, but with little success. “NEIA is encouraged that the provincial government has solicited recommendations from a consultant on net metering policy,” he said, noting the government had committed to implementation as early as 2007 in its energy plan.
“The government has had a considerable amount of time to study this issue. We expect that upon receipt of the consultant’s findings on October 31st, swift action will be taken to update provincial regulations to align with the rest of Canada.”
NEIA is a not-for-profit association of businesses that promotes the growth and development of the green economy in Newfoundland and Labrador. The organization offers a diverse range of expert knowledge and support services for members working to grow economic opportunity while respecting the natural environment. NEIA is The Business of the Environment, and has over 160 members.