Green energy developers will find out in mid-July whether they have been awarded contracts to get their wind farms off the ground.
The province’s renewable electricity administrator set out the revised timeline in a regulatory filing Friday with the provincial Utility and Review Board.
John Dalton, president of Power Advisory LLC, said Monday the timeline was changed because final revisions to the proposed tendering process took longer than expected.
“We started the process back in July in terms of working with stakeholders and have for the last six to seven months been working with them to get their comments and feedback,” Dalton said from Boston.
This is the second time the Massachusetts consultant, appointed by the Energy Department last year, has changed the timeline for awarding contracts. The independent administrator had planned to award contracts in April and then June.
The administrator is asking the review board to approve a draft power purchase agreement, which will be used to oversee the development of energy projects.
The draft agreement is based on previous contracts awarded by Nova Scotia Power but has been updated to reflect industry best practice and similar recent procurements across Canada, the filing said.
Dalton said board officials have suggested a two-month timeline for making a decision. A ruling is expected by April 25, paving the way for developers to submit their bids in May.
One recent change in the process involves the scoring system for evaluating projects.
The previous plan would have penalized projects in southwestern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, where there is less room on the grid. But the latest proposal would allow developers in those two areas to score points by offering to pay for the necessary network upgrades.
Dalton said he doesn’t know whether the proposal will be approved because such costs are normally paid by Nova Scotia Power customers.
“We felt it was important to be as inclusive as possible. We think we get that same net result by providing some additional flexibility. But the ultimate decision is the board’s.”
The province’s consumer advocate has questioned the plan to build more wind farms, saying they are not needed to meet renewable energy targets.
The Energy Department has said it will award contracts for an additional 300 gigawatt hours of renewable electricity, which equals about 100 megawatts of wind power, anyway.
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