Governments of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Show Progress Toward Phasing Out Coal by 2030 and Expanding Their Clean, Reliable and Affordable Electricity Grids

News release

October 16, 2023                                                      Ottawa, Ontario                                                      Natural Resources Canada

From our homes to our businesses to our workplaces, electricity powers our lives and our economy. Building a clean, reliable and affordable electricity grid is a crucial economic and environmental pursuit. The private sector is increasingly prioritizing access to clean electricity to stay competitive and to seize new economic opportunities, including in the emerging and growing industries of hydrogen and critical minerals. The economy is also rapidly electrifying as consumers adopt electric heat pumps and purchase electric vehicles and as industry transitions to clean power on the path to net zero.

It is in this context that today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources; the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs and the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities Canada, met with the Honourable Tim Houston, Premier of Nova Scotia; the Honourable Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables of Nova Scotia; and the Honourable Blaine Higgs, Premier of New Brunswick, to discuss the phase-out of coal-fired electricity generation by 2030 and the drive to net-zero electricity by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050 in a manner that is affordable for all Nova Scotians and New Brunswickers. 

At the meeting, the Governments of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia agreed to a Joint Policy Statement on Developing and Transmitting Clean, Reliable and Affordable Power in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, which includes advancing two tracks of collaborative work to help enable the phase-out of coal-fired electricity generation by 2030 and to drive to net-zero electricity by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050. As part of the first track of collaborative work, priority projects required to meet the 2030 timeline include the building of the Salisbury-Onslow Reliability Tie – the first phase of a modified Atlantic Loop, connecting Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. 

To further the objectives made in the Statement, today the Government of Canada announced:

·         $11.5 million in federal funding to Nova Scotia Power to improve grid system monitoring and automation as new clean energy assets are commissioned and the proportion of intermittent wind on the Nova Scotia grid grows. This will support the innovation and transformation needed to adopt clean generation and effectively manage the off-coal transition in Nova Scotia;

·         $7 million in federal funding to support predevelopment of ARC Clean Technology Canada’s small modular reactor at Point Lepreau in New Brunswick;  

·         $2 million in federal funding to help explore the feasibility of converting the Belledune coal-fired Generating Station in New Brunswick from coal to sustainably sourced biomass, through a fuel testing program, as well as a $978,945 investment to help the Belledune Port Authority undertake site preparedness studies to establish an industrial green hub.

These investments reflect an initial commitment to supporting the electricity system opportunities detailed in the recently released electricity plans of both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and reflect the ongoing collaboration between the federal and provincial governments on areas of mutual interest identified as significant economic and climate opportunities under the Canada-New Brunswick and Canada-Nova Scotia Regional Energy and Resource Tables. These focus areas include innovations in the nuclear sector like small modular reactors, advancing clean hydrogen and ammonia production, and deploying demand management and affordability measures like heat pump programs.

Today’s progress builds upon the significant commitments made by the federal government to the electricity sector in Budget 2023 that will help support these priorities. These include the new Clean Electricity Investment Tax Credit, the Clean Technology Investment Tax Credit, and a $2.9-billion recapitalization of the Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program.

Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will continue to work together to advance areas of critical importance on the path to net-zero electricity by 2035 and to further explore additional regional transmission and energy exchange opportunities in partnership with neighbouring utilities in Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and P.E.I. 


“Canada’s commitment to decarbonizing our electricity grid is foundational to address the global fight against climate change and to seize the economic opportunities associated with the transition to a clean grid from coast to coast to coast. Today’s investments will help drive clean electricity development for Nova Scotians and New Brunswickers and establish a pathway to achieve a clean, reliable and affordable electricity system for generations to come.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Energy and Natural Resources

“Clean energy offers immense economic potential for Atlantic Canada — and by working together, we as governments can collectively ensure that the people we represent reap the benefits of that potential. At this critical juncture for Atlantic Canada, we will continue to work with Atlantic provinces to create a cleaner, more resilient electricity grid and build a bright future for Atlantic Canadians.”

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc
Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs

“We’re working with the Government of Nova Scotia to help create the clean, reliable and affordable energy Nova Scotians need. By collaborating and investing in areas of mutual interest, we will help phase out coal and create an electricity sector that powers our homes, businesses and industries.” 

The Honourable Sean Fraser
Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

“Atlantic Canada is a great place to live, work and invest. Today’s agreement will help Nova Scotia and New Brunswick transition from coal to renewable electricity, securing jobs and protecting our region’s competitive advantage for the next generation.”

The Honourable Gudie Hutchings
Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

“Building a clean, affordable and reliable electricity system is at the foundation of Canada’s efforts to tackle climate change and is a generational opportunity to drive clean economic growth in Atlantic Canada for decades to come. Atlantic Canadians can look forward to the cleaner air, affordable electricity and the job opportunities that will come with it. The kind of collaboration with the provinces on display today will be important as we work together to develop the best set of federal regulations possible to drive this clean electricity transition forward.”

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“We all have the same goal — we want a clean, sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. It’s a priority for our government to do that without putting an unnecessary burden on Nova Scotians. We have unique challenges and opportunities to reach our goals, and we’re focused on made-in-Nova Scotia solutions to reach them, working closely with our neighbours and our federal partners for our mutual benefit. Together, we’ll advance our clean power plan and make sure people in our region have clean, reliable and affordable power.”

The Honourable Tim Houston,
Premier of Nova Scotia

“It is important to realize that none of this will be possible without substantial federal funding, and I look forward to future commitment in that regard.”

The Honourable Blaine Higgs
Premier of New Brunswick

“The Government of Canada is investing in the development of clean technologies right here in New Brunswick. Today’s funding announcement for ARC technologies will help New Brunswick become a leader in SMR technology and create good, sustainable jobs for generations to come.”

Member of Parliament Wayne Long,
Saint John–Rothesay, New Brunswick

“Canada will move away from coal by 2030, but the people we'll never leave behind are the workers and communities in the regions that will gradually have to move toward carbon neutrality. These investments in Belledune will help our communities diversify their economies, create jobs and prepare the future for generations to come.”

Member of Parliament Serge Cormier
Acadie–Bathurst, New Brunswick 

Quick facts

  • Canada has built one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world, with more than 80 percent of our power coming from non-emitting sources.  

  • Today’s announcement will help Nova Scotia and New Brunswick achieve their goals of phasing out coal and achieving a clean power grid.  

  • By phasing out unabated coal-powered generation, Canada is expected to experience fewer premature deaths, fewer asthmatic episodes and fewer air-quality advisories. Canada is working to phase out coal by 2030, and both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick’s climate plans contain this shared commitment.  

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