Marine Renewable Energy Legislation
On April 29, 2015, the Province of Nova Scotia introduced its Marine Renewable-energy Act that will provide a clear, predictable and efficient process to support the sustainable growth of the sector. It will do this in such a way that will protect the environment, respect community and local needs, and ensure that Nova Scotians benefit.
In December 2015, the Province introduced changes to the legislation that will strengthen the Act in response to consultations with communities, environmental groups, academia, industry, and government.
Key Features of the Act
This Act governs the development of marine renewable energy resources—including waves, tidal range, in-stream tidal, ocean currents, and offshore wind–in designated areas of the Nova Scotia offshore.
Areas of Priority
The Act will apply to two key areas of marine renewable energy priority in the province—within parts of the Bay of Fundy and Cape Breton Island’s Bras d’Or Lakes. Marine renewable energy projects will not be able to proceed in these areas without approval from the Minister of Energy.
Within these priority areas, the Province will designate smaller areas for project development known as ‘Marine Renewable Electricity Areas’ or MREAs. The purpose of an MREA is to identify the best possible locations to develop marine renewable energy projects and to provide clarity on the use of this marine space. MREAs will only be identified after significant research and consultation has taken place.
Licensing and Permitting
A key piece to the legislation is the creation of a licensing and permitting system that will oversee the development of marine renewable energy projects. Any generator proceeding in a priority area without an approval will be in violation of the Act. A license will allow a project developer to carry out the business of extracting energy within an MREA through single or multiple devices. A permit will be issued to a temporary deployment of a device for the purposes of testing and demonstration. This system will ensure projects proceed only after undergoing a thorough review by government and subject to effective government oversight and monitoring.
A History of Consultation
Government has been consulting with industry and Nova Scotians since 2007 regarding the form and content of sector-specific legislation. In 2010, Dr. Robert Fournier of Dalhousie University led consultations that resulted in 27 recommendations regarding the management of the sector, specifically around the contents of the legislation.
The Province’s Marine Renewable Energy Strategy built off the recommendations made by Dr. Fournier. In particular, the Strategy consists of a regulatory plan that focuses on the development of marine renewable energy legislation to ensure that projects and development proceed with appropriate licensing, environmental protection, community benefits, and provincial revenue.
The following materials provide greater detail on the contents of the Act and its impacts. To learn more about tidal energy in Nova Scotia, visit our ‘Current Activity’ page or contact the Department at 902-424-4575 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- News Release: Amendments Strengthen Marine Renewable-energy Legislation (December 1, 2015)
- News Release: Marine Renewable Energy Legislation Provides Industry Clarity (April 29, 2015)
- Bill 110: Marine Renewable-energy Act (as passed with amendments and corrections, December 2015)
- Plain Language Overview (.pdf)