April 22, 2024

A contender for a monopoly on Nova Scotia’s renewable retail electricity emerges

Nova Scotia Power has its first competitor in the business of selling renewable electricity directly to consumers – at least on paper.

On Tuesday, the Nova Scotia Board of Public Utilities and Oversight granted the first retail supplier license to a numbered subsidiary of Roswall Development Inc.

Roswall President Dan Roscoe said that means Nova Scotians will now have a choice of who they buy their electricity from.

“History was made in Nova Scotia today,” he said.

The license is a major step in the company’s plans to develop a 33-megawatt wind farm on Crown land that was part of Bowater Mersey Holdings near Milton in Queens County.

The company predicts that starting in late 2023, sales will be to 15 industrial customers and about 800 residential customers.

“This is an important tool to accelerate our transition to a green economy. It will allow both individuals and businesses to meet their various carbon goals,” said Roscoe, a veteran wind power engineer and head of renewable energy at the Verschuren Center for Sustainability at the University of Cape Breton. in energy and the environment.

“Competitive rates” are promised
Both Roscoe and the board are confident that the license is just the first step.

The wind farm still has major hurdles to overcome, including passing an environmental assessment, developing interconnection arrangements with Nova Scotia Power and getting customers to actually sign up.

Tariffs are also in the pipeline.

They will include the rates the company has to pay Nova Scotia Power for use of its transmission lines.

“We will be able to provide competitive rates that will be stable over time,” Roscoe said.

Regulator’s sober assessment
In approving the license, NSUARB member Stephen McGrath wrote that while the company presented a “reasonable business model,” it was subject to many assumptions.

“It recognized that it would require significant investment in understanding this market, technical and financial applications, and optimizing various assets and resources on an ongoing basis,” he wrote.

“The company recognized that it would have to expand its team and seek strategic partnerships to make the proposed model a success.”

Roswall has applied for a Crown land lease for the wind farm and a building permit to the Queens area municipality.

Why the cabinet should approve the venture
Roswall Development is the first company to take advantage of the “renewable energy to retail” program created seven years ago by the Liberal government under Stephen McNeil.

One of Roswall’s executives and chairman of the board is Michelle Samson, a former energy secretary in the McNeill government.

Although the Liberals set the stage through the Electricity Act, regulations and other steps, the government has not indicated when sales might begin.

As a result, the license issued by the board will include a condition that no sales can take place before the provincial cabinet sets a date.

The licence is held by 4363174 Nova Scotia Limited, which was incorporated on October 4, 2021.

As part of the application, the company had to present a cheque for $7,500 and a letter of credit for $200,000.

The directors also passed a credit and criminal record check, which turned out to be satisfactory.

Who is associated with the company?

Roswall told regulators that its leadership and management have been “at the forefront of renewable energy development in Nova Scotia for the past 15 years.”

In addition to Samson, the numbered company’s board includes:

  • Barbara Pike, a member of the Marine Oil Council of Canada and Nova Scotia and former CEO of the Marine Energy Association.
  • David Howell, president of Valley Homes and chief financial officer of Brison Developments Ltd.

Roswall board members include:

  • Edgar Samson of Premium Seafoods.
  • Utility veteran Ray Robinson, formerly of Emera.

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