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Two Canadian Provinces Vow To End Coal Use By 2030

New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have drafted plans to phase out coal power generation by 2030 and replace it with low-carbon alternatives.

The Premiers of the two provinces announced their plans with federal energy minister Jonathan Wilkinson.

Originally, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia planned to replace their reliance on coal with increased imports of hydroelectric power generated in Quebec, CBC recalled in a report on the news.

The idea was called the Atlantic Loop and was going to be an important tool in Canada’s energy transition. However, it turned out that this increased reliance on imports from Quebec would necessitate massive investments in upgrading the grid that appear to have been unpalatable.

“Eventually there probably will be an Atlantic loop concept that’s all put together as pieces of the puzzle,” Nova Scotia’s Natural Resources and Renewables Minister Tory Rushton told media last week.

“But at the time and point right now, it’s not something the ratepayers in Nova Scotia can afford. Quite frankly, we can’t keep the 2030 targets with it,” Rushton also said.

The Atlantic Loop was originally estimated to cost some C$3 billion, or $2.2 billion but over the past three years its cost increased threefold to reach C$9 billion, or $6.6 billion, making the project unviable. Quebec also could not commit to making all necessary volumes of hydropower available to the other two provinces.

The alternative approach of the two provinces would be to build more wind, solar, and nuclear generation capacity at home.

"That was a common theme throughout our meeting, that we have to find a way that people can afford to live and work in our respective provinces," the Premier of New Brunswick, Blaine Higgs, said.

The federal government will provide financial help to New Brunswick’s and Nova Scotia’s transition plans, with Wilkinson saying "At the end of the day, the grid of the future needs to be one that is clean, but it also needs to be reliable and it also needs to be affordable."

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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