Keywords: renewable energy region, 100% renewable energy self sufficiency region, Prince Edward Island, renewable energy in Prince Edward Island.
Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest and greenest province. It is located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, off the Atlantic Coast of the Canadian mainland (Figure 1). One of the four Atlantic Provinces, this crescent shaped Island is separated from the mainland by the Northumberland Strait. The Island is location at 46º degrees latitude, -63º degrees longitude. The province is also called ‘PEI’ or simply ‘the Island’. The capital city is Charlottetown. In July 2009, the province’s population was estimated to be 140,985. This represents a 1.1% growth since 2008.
Background of Renewable Energy Development
There are many reasons behind the development of renewable energy in Prince Edward Island (PEI):
- The island does not have substantial resources of fossil fuels, hydro, or nuclear energy. Due to this situation, PEI has to import the energy needed through two submarine cables which was installed in 1977. It makes the island had the highest cost of electricity among Canadian Province. High energy cost also were an obstacle to the development of the Province’s full economic potential in the last century.
- Importing oil products and electricity makes PEI consumers and residents particularly vulnerable to fossil fuel price volatility and supply disruptions. In 1997, one of the cable was out of service for a month. It made the supply at risk. The Island has also experienced the loss of lower-priced surplus energy from off-island occasionally when the energy was needed elsewhere. Even Maritime Electric was able to generate replacement electricity from its oil-fired power plant, but it’s clear that there is a need for a more competitively priced of energy.
- Increasing the use of renewable sources of energy is an excellent way to reduce the cost of Kyoto Protocol. In Canada, each year since 1990 emissions have continued to grow, the actual reduction will have to be as much as 30% below what would have been emitted in 2012 if no action were taken.
- The need to find secure energy sources. The island depends upon large amounts of energy which are currently available primarily from oil products. Energy prices are not likely to stabilize. On the other hand, renewable energy tends to be local energy, therefore, prices are less likely to be impacted by unforeseen events.
Role of Renewable Energy Development
Development of renewable energy is important for some reasons:
- Renewable fuels can be grown or produced on PEI to reduce off-Island dependence;
- Renewable fuels are less damaging to the environment;
- Pursuing renewables is consistent with the Island’s orientation toward sustainability;
- Developing technologies and local experience provide opportunities for Island business;
- Environmental credits may provide local firms competitive advantage;
- Renewables offer potential price stability due to diversity of supply.
In the late 1980s, generating electricity from wood biomass was previously evaluated by the Province. Several biomass energy projects were developed by Government in the 1980s and early 1990s, including the Charlottetown District Heating System.
The Charlottetown District Heating System was developed by the Prince Edward Island (PEI) Energy Corporation.
It was concluded, at that time, that the cost of generating power from this fuel source was prohibitive.
In 1980, the Atlantic Wind Test Site (AWTS) was established at North Cape and funded by Natural Resources Canada and the Prince Edward Island (PEI) Energy Corporation. AWTS, which serves as a primary source of technical information for the public and private sectors, has conducted extensive research on wind turbines. It is the home of Canada’s only wind energy testing facility. In November 2001, the PEI Energy Corporation commissioned the North Cape Wind Farm on property adjacent to AWTS. In 2003, the Energy Corporation has plans to double the size of the wind farm to 10.56 MW. As a result of these improvements, by the end of 2003, the capacity of the North Cape Wind Farm will have increased to a total of 13.3 MW.
In June 2003, the Prince Edward Island (PEI) Energy Corporation released the Draft PEI Renewable Energy Strategy and hosted six public consultation sessions across the Island. The intent of these meetings was to explain the current energy situation in Prince Edward Island and seek input as to how the Province should incorporate renewable sources into the future energy mix. The results of the sessions and comments received on the Draft PEI Renewable Energy Strategy.
In November 2003, Prince Edward Island became the first province to sign a Climate Change Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Canada. The MOU provides a collaborative structure for the two governments to:
develop renewable energy technologies including wind energy and wind/hydrogen systems;
- share in the promotion and implementation of energy efficiency practices;
- promote various individual climate change actions;
- develop a climate change adaptation strategy; and
- reduce greenhouse gases within the agriculture sector.
The Government of Prince Edward Island argued that at the outset of energy framework there is a strong link between energy consumption and climate change, so Prince Edward Island’s plans to address climate change could have a significant impact on the province’s overall energy strategy. Due to this reason, during the spring 2004 session of the Legislative Assembly, a Special Committee on Climate Change was struck to seek input from Islanders and make recommendations on a Climate Change Strategy for Prince Edward Island.
In June 2004, the Prince Edward Island Department of Environment and Energy released its Energy Framework and Renewable Energy Strategy. This document was input received from interested stakeholders and the general public. The outcome of this consultative approach to the Island’s energy policy development was a list of 19 action items for the government to pursue.
Today, nearly all of items (a list of 19 action items for the government to pursue) have been accomplished with significant advancements made towards the incorporation of renewable energy (wind power) into the provincial energy mix. The Province of Prince Edward Island (PEI) has developed a North American, if not global, reputation in the development of renewable energy.
- PEI has always been viewed as an innovator in developing, demonstrating and deploying renewable energy systems with due regard for the environment.
- PEI has a strong reputation as a leader in the development of its wind resources with the highest per capita penetration of this renewable energy in its provincial electricity portfolio.
- PEI has been a leader in the use of biomass resources converting waste into thermal energy to heat municipal buildings.
The renewable energy industries have experienced rapid success. There was overwhelming support expressed during the public meetings for Government to continue support for the development of the renewable energy sector.
Renewable Energy Strategy
The Renewable Energy Strategy is one component of the Prince Edward Island (PEI) Energy Framework to address future energy demand. It is part of the broader Government initiative to create a sustainable future for the Province of Prince Edward Island. The provincial government has developed a renewed Provincial Energy Strategy. It consist of new five and ten year energy vision for PEI.
The vision is to ensure a prosperous future for residents and businesses of Prince Edward Island based on the objectives of energy security, environmental sustainability and economic development.
To support the vision, the Province of Prince Edward Island has developed objectives (5 and 10 years) with specific government actions (see PEI energy future).
- Energy Security: greater self sufficiency; improved price stability; diversity of supply.
- Environmental Sustainability: increased energy efficiency and reduced consumption; renewable energy development; reduced GHG emissions and other pollutants.
- Economic Development: support growth of local industries and new job opportunities; research, development & demonstration of new technologies; strengthen and diversify local economy.
Current Energy Profile
Without a local supply of natural gas and oil resources, Prince Edward Island (PEI) is heavily reliant on imported sources of energy (Figure 2). Imported oil accounts for 76% of PEI’s total energy supply, 46% for transportation and 30% for heating. 10% of energy in PEI is supplied by biomass, which includes fuel wood, sawmill residue and municipal waste. 14% of the Island’s energy mix is electricity. Wind resources meet approximately 18% of the province’s electricity supply (Figure 3). Oil (petroleum for wind on-island electrical generation) and nuclear power (for electricity) supplied by the New Brunswick Power Corporation and imported via two submarine cables. This power, since the early 1980s, has been transmitted virtually across the Northumberland Strait and connected to the mainland.
PEI’s energy future outline different courses of government action that will be undertaken. The execution of these actions should lead to a number of anticipated outcomes.
The expected energy mix by 2013 and 2018 can be viewed in Figure 4 and Figure 5.
- a 10% increase in efficiency across all sectors.
- A total of 500 MW of wind power by 2013, of which 100 MW will be for domestic use.
- A renewable fuel standard for gasoline (E5) and light fuel oil and diesel fuel (B10 or B10 renewable equivalent) would be introduced.
- The environmental impacts of renewable fuel development will be addressed with a concurrent low carbon fuel standard.
- Developing the Province’s abundant biomass resources should result in a 50% increase in biomass use and lead to 10 MW of new electrical generation capacity for Island utilities.
- The Provincial Government will continue to pursue opportunities to increase the efficient use of PEI’s energy resources. It is expected that an additional 10% increase in overall efficiency is an attainable goal and will be achieved through the constant updating of policies and programs across all sectors.
- Incremental wind developments will be possible, most likely through community-based projects, and will be determined by domestic load growth.
- Renewable fuel standards could be increased to help achieve the Island’s environmental goals and GHG reductions (E10 and B20 or renewable equivalent).
- Developments in the effective utilization or biomass resources could result in a 25% increase in use and an additional 10 MW of electrical generation capacity.
Energy Efficiency and Conservation
There are some progress related to energy efficiency and conservation in Prince Edward Island (PEI). They are:
- In 2008, PEI’s Department of Energy, Environment and Forestry released a study by the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) that examined the potential of cost-effective energy efficiency initiatives that could reduce energy use and lower reenhouse gas emissions in PEI by 2017.
- The Office of Energy Efficiency (OE) was established in early 2008 to assist Islanders in reducing their energy consumption and minimize the environmental footprint of their daily activities.
- The Provincial Government operates hundreds of vehicles in their fleet and purchasing more fuel-efficient vehicles for the past several years. Two hydrogen-powered buses were added to the fleet in 2007 as a public transit system in Charlottetown.
The demonstrated leadership of the Provincial Government in recognizing energy efficiency as a priority resource is a crucial step in the development of energy policy. Large information-based campaigns are effective in promoting awareness but do not often result in sustainable behavioral change.
Renewable Energy in Prince Edward Island
As have been explained in the background, the implementation of renewable energy development in Prince Edward Island (PEI) is included in rural action plan (a rural economic development strategy for PEI)
and climate change strategy (a strategy for reducing the impacts of global warming for PEI).
Wind is one of the province’s strongest and most valuable natural assets for Prince Edward Island (PEI), given the favorable wind regime of many areas of the province (Figure 6). Approximately 75% of a wind farm’s cost is related to its initial capital investment. Obviously, the cost of fuel (the wind) will remain unchanged at zero into the future. Wind power thus has the potential to stabilize future electricity prices and provide a measure of energy security.
There are some site of wind farm in the island, they are:
- First wind farm was built at North Cape in 2001 (Figure 7). The North Cape site has since expanded and today supplies 10.56 MW of wind energy to Maritime Electric Company Limited, the province’s main utility.
- 3 MW of wind energy comes from the Vestas V-90 turbine—North America’s, first V-90 prototype installed in 2003. It is located just in the south of the North Cape Wind Farm.
- The Energy Corporation developed the Eastern Kings Wind Farm which produces 30 MW of wind energy
The private developer, Suez Energy, supplies 9 MW to Maritime Electric from its wind farm in Norway and 9 MW from its West Cape wind farm to the Summerside Electric Utility. Due to that fact, wind energy now is supplying around 18% of the electricity sold in Prince Edward Island. 61.56 MW of wind energy is produced for the Prince Edward Island market. In addition, Suez Energy has begun exporting wind from Prince Edward Island. By the end of 2008, Suez Energy would be exporting 90 MW of wind energy. At that time, Prince Edward Island would have over 150 MW of installed wind capacity and would need a further 350 MW to meet its goal of generating 500 MW of wind power by 2013.
10 Point Plan
On October 17, 2008, the Government of Prince Edward Island announced the province’s wind energy strategy entitled “Island Wind Energy, Securing Our Future: The 10 Point Plan”. This 10 point plan sets clear ground rules and establishes a fair, open and transparent process for developers.
It will help to ensure that wind energy is developed in the best interests of the Island community—and that all Islanders share in the benefits from their wind energy resource:
- Maximizing Energy Security, Independence and Price Stability for Islanders.
- Generating Revenue from Green Energy Exports.
- Demonstrating Community Support.
- Building a Collaborative Partnership Approach to Cable and Transmission Planning.
- Maximizing Economic Benefits.
- Promoting Sound Land-Use Planning.
- Assuring Compliance with Environmental Review Processes.
- Promoting Fair and Equitable Land Leases.
- Advancing a Consistent Taxation and Business Support Environment.
- Partnering with Proven Developers.
The pervasive use of solar technologies peaked in the 1970s and early 80s during the first fuel crisis; government grants, incentives, and demonstration systems caused an explosion of growth in Canada. Prince Edward Island (PEI), at one time, had the highest per capita residential use of solar hot water units in the country.
Earth Energy Systems or Geothermal Systems
20% of the average energy demand in a residential home is for water heating, and most geothermal units include a component to heat water for potable or sanitary use.
In September 2007, Executive Council established and directed the Environmental and Renewable Industries Committee (ERIC) to examine the potential for local biofuel development. In March 2008 the government established the Inter-Departmental Biofuels Committee (IDBC) to evaluate and advise Government on the role bioenergy projects and proposals (for the province energy future).
BiomassTen percent of energy in Prince Edward Island (PEI) is currently supplied by biomass, which includes fuel wood, sawmill residue and municipal waste. PEI Energy Systems in Charlottetown uses municipal waste and wood biomass to supply thermal energy to commercial, residential and institutional buildings in the city. Biomass from forest and agricultural sectors is the most readily available feedstock for biofuel development in PEI. Markets for biomass systems include the residential, commercial and institutional sectors. Tax exemptions, low interest loans and other financial incentives for wood heat systems (wood and wood pellets) has increased the popularity of these systems and resulted in a larger market for wood and wood pellets.
Pure Plant Oils
Canola and soybeans are currently grown on just over 4% of Prince Edward Island’s (PEI’s) cropland. Pure plant oils have a number of applications and potential markets. Canola and waste vegetable oil are already being used in some commercial fleets in PEI.
Currently, there are limited feedstocks available for the production of biodiesel. Many major diesel engine manufacturers already warrant the use of low-level blends of biodiesel and diesel fuel.The potential market for heating oil is significant, with 76 million litres used each year in Island homes and 62 million litres used in commercial and institutional facilities. Demand for diesel and light fuel oil in the region exceeded 3 billion litres in 2006. At blends of 5 to 20%, the inclusion of biodiesel into heating oil and diesel fuel could create a regional demand for biodiesel exceeding 600 million litres/year.
The current availability of local feedstocks (e.g. corn, wheat, sugar beets) to produce ethanol is limited on Prince Edward Island (PEI). Similar to biodiesel crops, concerns exist around the type of feedstocks for ethanol production and the availability and effect on agricultural land. Current gasoline demand in PEI is 234 million litres (regional demand is 2.5 billion litres). At a 10% ethanol blend, provincial demand for ethanol would be 23 million litres, with regional demand near 250 million litres.
Biogas production is occurring in Prince Edward Island (PEI). Methane is being used on site at wastewater treatment facilities and industrial operations. Several commercial food processors are building bio-digesters fuelled by food processing waste to offset some of their energy costs. The ADAPT Council of PEI is currently investigating the potential for the cost-effective use of biogas in PEI farming operations.