How We Make Electricity

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How We Make Electricity

In this section

Read about the different ways electricity is made in Nova Scotia and learn about the changes underway to provide cleaner, more sustainable electricity. Visit Today's Power to see real-time generation information about the electricity Nova Scotians are using.

Sources of Electricity

Nova Scotia’s electricity is generated from a variety of sources including coal, pet coke, natural gas, oil, wind, tidal, hydro, and biomass at a series of power plants, known as generating stations, and other facilities that produce renewable electricity. These facilities are rated by the maximum amount of electricity they are designed to produce, measured in megawatts (MW) and known as generation capacity.

We operate four power plants that use coal and pet coke, another that runs on natural gas or oil, three oil-burning combustion turbines, one tidal and 33 hydro stations, two wind farms, two sites with single wind turbines, and a biomass power plant. We also purchase renewable electricity from independent power producers throughout the province and import electricity through a transmission line connecting Nova Scotia with New Brunswick. Together, these sources make up what’s known as our fuel or generation mix, which can change from year-to-year based on factors like fuel prices and environmental regulations.

Many of the first electricity customers in Nova Scotia were powered by small hydroelectric facilities throughout the province. Over time, oil became our primary source of electricity until the OPEC crisis in the 1970s. Coal has since provided as much as 80% of our electricity needs, but is no longer economically or environmentally sustainable as our primary source of electricity. In recent years, we’ve been reducing our use of coal in favour of cleaner-burning natural gas and renewable sources like wind and biomass.