Nova Scotia Power Inc. (Nova Scotia), in order to reach its green energy target, will invest in wind energy sector. The Nova Scotia government intends to revise rules that bar the company from investing in wind energy sector. Nova Scotia targets of having 5% of its power generated by renewable sources by 2010.

Nova Scotia Energy Minister Barry Barnet said I think there was kind of a mutual coming-of-the-minds that this is the way we can meet each other’s objectives, Barnet said. It’s imbedded within the regulation and I’m not sure why it was put in there in the first place. The idea was to have the independent producers have the ability to operate separately from Nova Scotia Power.

Barnet further continued that by allowing the utility to invest in independent wind power producers will help solve problems of cash injections into smaller companies during the current recession as well as helping the company in developing vendors from which to purchase green energy to meet its target.

What we’re doing right now is looking at things that we can do to adjust our policy to enable companies like Nova Scotia Power, who have a strong financial background, to invest in some of these independent power producers. Barnet said.

Provincial New Democrat Leader Darrell Dexter said that he was not enthusiastic about the idea of the utility investing in other energy companies because he feared monopolization of the industry by the company.

Dexter further continued that the province could help smaller companies by offering loan guarantees or having Nova Scotia Business Incorporated, invest in wind turbine companies.

I think it should be absolutely the last option that they proceed with, Dexter said. The problem is access to capital in what is a very, very tight credit market given all the economic turmoil that’s going on. The best thing is to try and support those people who are out there trying to promote the use of wind power and other renewables, by making sure they have access to capital.

Dexter said that the regulations banning the company from investing in smaller energy companies were established to allow smaller power producers to get a toe-hold in the province, and giving the utility the right to buy up those smaller companies now, would defeat that goal.