This is Part IV in a series of articles for those interested in legislation affecting marine renewable energy. The first three articles are: Nova Scotia: Marine Renewable Energy Act – A Synopsis, Nova Scotia: Marine Renewable Energy Act 2.0 – Amended and Proclaimed in Force: What's New? and Nova Scotia: Marine Renewable-energy General Regulations – Important Considerations for Project Developers.

Nova Scotia's Marine Renewal Energy Act has been amended in response to concerns raised by those working in the sector.

On March 24, 2022 Bill No. 101 held the first reading to amend the Act. The Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables announced that the legislation will help improve the regulatory framework after four years of experience. In short, the amendments are largely to update the Act in response to the needs of the marine renewable-energy sector. As of April 22, 2022 the amendments received Royal Assent.

The changes are intended to bring greater clarity to the permitting process and to provide timeframes for approval and notification. Amendments include:

  • Greater clarity to language in the Act's licensing system
  • Clarifying the timelines and processes for incompleteness rejection, approval, and denial of demonstration permits
  • Outlining the Act's regulatory-making authority to improve administration

Changes to the Geographic Restriction

Developers had encountered ambiguities when trying to interpret the geographic scope of licenses. Specifically, issues arose when multiple projects wished to share the same geographical area by sharing moorings, anchors, or other subsea infrastructure.

The amendments clarify that the Act now supports sharing of infrastructure in a geographic area, a change that should allow developers to save on costs.

Additional Substantial Changes

The amendments also:

  • Add a 60-day deadline for the Minister to respond to any changes of consent, transfer, or assignment of any license or permit
  • Create liability for officers, directors, and agents of a corporation involved in an offence under the Act

The Government says Nova Scotia remains committed to being a jurisdiction friendly to the development of marine renewable-energy. Nova Scotia remains the only jurisdiction in Canada, and one of the few globally, with legislation to support developers in the marine renewable-energy sector.

This article originally appeared on The Lawyer's Daily website published by LexisNexis Canada Inc.

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