Combat climate change and save $$?!  Go on….

November 26, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ leaders & followers


by Erin Stapleton – The effects of climate change are increasingly evident. In Newfoundland and Labrador, we can see it in our eroding coastlines, the more extreme weather, and rising sea temperature (see’s blog for more). Yes, the larger industries certainly need to do their part, but there are many things we can do as individuals, businesses and communities to lower GHG emissions and help combat climate change.

home turbine

We also know our electricity costs are soon going to increase from the current average of $0.10/kWh to upwards of $0.22/kWh.  (So, take your current bill and double it – that’s what you’ll be paying in a few years. Yikes!)

But here’s some good news – as of July 2017, there’s a way for you to help the environment and save on your electricity bill at the same time!

How is this possible? Through the Newfoundland and Labrador Net Metering Program. Net metering allows you to generate electricity from your own small-scale renewable energy source to power your home or business, and to supply any electricity you don’t use to NL Hydro/NL Power (for which they will issue a credit at the end of the year). The renewable energy generator can be powered by wind, solar, biomass, tidal or wave energy.

Do people actually do this? Yes! Check out this article about a poultry farmer in Nova Scotia who has installed wind turbines, and this article about a solar-powered bakery in Victoria, BC (if links don’t click, they are pasted below).  But before you go pricing out wind turbines and solar panels, there are many things to consider.

You must meet NL Hydro criteria. For example, you must be an existing customer, your generator cannot exceed 100kW, and it must be approved by NL Power/NL Hydro.

Is your home/building as energy efficient as possible? Have an energy audit completed and ensure that you’re already being as efficient as you can with your electricity (e.g., programmable thermostats, adequate insulation, Energy Star appliances, etc.).

Is your energy usage large enough to see a cost-savings? For example, perhaps your home power bill amounts to $3500/year. Even though that will increase in the coming years, does it justify installing a turbine? Maybe it doesn’t make sense for your home, but how about the community hockey rink? Perhaps wind isn’t the right technology for your situation and solar is the better choice. It’s important you get a professional to do a cost analysis to see what will work best for your specific case.

This seems complicated. It’s a new program and it does take some time to find out if it will work for you. To get started, check out the NL Hydro and NL Power websites. Additionally, I know some fantastic (and local!) energy efficiency and renewable energy professionals who can help you with energy audits, cost analysis, turbine rentals (that’s right – rentals!) and more.

Net metering won’t work for everyone and that’s ok. What’s important is that you know that renewable energy does work in our province, you can harness renewable energy for your own use, and you can save money by doing so! It’s a win for the environment, and for your bank account.

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Erin Stapleton - Stapleton Environmental Consulting

Erin Stapleton is Director and Principal Consultant at Stapleton Environmental Consulting in St. John’s.

A passionate advocate of renewable energy, she provides the natural resources and energy sectors with environmental assessment, stakeholder engagement, and applied research services.

To learn more


Twitter: @StapletonEnviro