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Province’s continued delay on net metering policy is putting Newfoundland and Labrador businesses at disadvantage

For Immediate Release
December 11, 2014

ST. JOHN’S, NL – The Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Industry Association (NEIA) is expressing concern that the provincial government is continuing to delay the introduction of net metering policy – and says that this is hurting businesses in the province.

“The government committed in its own energy plan in 2007 to introduce a net metering policy,” says Ted Lomond, Executive Director of NEIA. “Nearly eight years later there has been almost no movement. Businesses in this province made plans and investments based on the expectation government would follow through on its promise.”

‘Net metering’ encourages individuals and businesses to produce their own power through economical sources of renewable energies such as solar, wind, biomass, or geothermal technologies. When businesses produce more power than their operations require, they are allowed to sell their surplus energy back to the grid. This significantly offsets the company’s energy costs and increases its competitiveness. The same advantage would be available to individual home and property owners.

“Almost every other jurisdiction in North America has a net metering policy,” says Lomond. “This puts our industries and businesses at a serious disadvantage, as they do not have an equal opportunity to invest in renewable energy to reduce their energy costs. Our firms compete internationally. The current policy impedes economic diversification and business growth.”

Local firms producing renewable energy technologies are being forced to focus their efforts outside of the province says Lomond. “There are innovative businesses in our province developing wind, solar, wave, and biowaste energy technologies have no market in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Lomond says dated energy policies discourage business attraction to the province. He notes that Nova Scotia actively promotes net-meting when enticing firms to locate in their province.

In early September the Department of Natural Resources selected a consulting company to research relevant standard industry practices and provide guidance on developing net metering policy. The report was submitted to government in late October. “It is an embarrassment that government waited this long to seeking guidance on developing a net metering policy which they committed to implement in 2007. Any further delay is unacceptable. The report should be released immediately,” says Lomond. The government will not indicate to NEIA when the report will be publicly available.

“We are concerned that it took almost eight years for government to simply identify standard industry practices – and that it now appears to be delaying the findings of its consultant,” says Lomond.

“Some form of net metering exists in every other province in Canada. It is time to address what the delay is here in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

NEIA is a not-for-profit association of businesses that promotes the growth and development of the green economy in Newfoundland and Labrador. NEIA has over 190 members.

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