Another important thing to consider is how Nova Scotians use their energy, not only where it comes from. It is difficult to discuss renewable energy systems without discussing energy efficiency and conservation as well; wasted energy is still wasted energy after all, even if it comes from a clean source.

The Energy Pyramid

Energy efficiency refers to how effectively a system can convert energy from one form to another. Energy-efficient devices are used so that less energy is wasted in the form of non-useful byproducts (like the heat from a light bulb or noise from an engine), and therefore less energy is required for them to do their job when compared to less efficient systems. The widespread use of energy-efficient devices by a population can cause a significant reduction in overall energy demand, which is especially important in Digby County.

Effective power distribution in Digby is becoming more and more difficult as the local electrical infrastructure ages. While excellent opportunities exist in the area for renewable electricity generation, the grid in Nova Scotia is set up to send power to populated areas from coal-fired plants in other parts of the province, rather than distribute locally generated power. A desire to move away from imported fossil fuel-fired power to clean, locally generated power has motivated the Municipality of Digby to try and mitigate the distribution problem by researching solutions that can improve the efficiency of the grid. Such solutions include energy storage systems, smart grid controls, and converting fossil fuel-powered systems such as transportation vehicles to electric drive. The use of energy-efficient appliances and devices also helps to reduce the overall electrical load.