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NS Eco Debate 6 of 10

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Published on May 30, 2009

About 250 people packed an auditorium at Dalhousie University to hear a mostly friendly discussion of issues ranging from Nova Scotia Powers monopoly to reducing greenhouse gases.

Brendan MacNeill of the Green party, Liberal Jane Spurr, the NDPs Howard Epstein and Conservative David Morse answered questions prepared by the Ecology Action Centre. CBC reporter Jack Julian moderated the debate, which was organized by the EAC and Dalhousies new College of Sustainability. The Green party and the NDP said NSPs monopoly could be ended by regulating electricity prices to take into account the higher cost of renewable energy sources. This system would provide incentives for companies producing renewable energy.

"Germany is a great example of that," Mr. MacNeill said. "They now have 250,000 people who are employed in the renewable energy sector."

But Mr. Morse said that system — called feed-in tariffs — would increase power bills. He said the province has "very attractive" long-term contracts with NSP that will keep power costs down. He also noted the provinces forays into renewable energy with such projects as using the Bay of Fundys tides to produce power.

All candidates agreed that the province must look into ways to find ways to reduce greenhouse gases. Nova Scotias reliance on coal for power production was singled out, as was the need to hook into hydro power grids from outside the province.

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