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Atlantic Energy Gateway enhances regional cooperation towards clean energy future

September 10, 2012

CHARLOTTETOWN, Sept. 10, 2012 /CNW/ – The Honourable Bernard Valcourt,
Associate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State (Atlantic
Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie), and the Honourable Joe
Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, today joined the ministers of
energy of the four Atlantic provinces to announce the results of
studies undertaken under the Atlantic Energy Gateway (AEG)
initiative. This project was aimed at enhancing government and regional
power utilities cooperation in Atlantic Canada for a cleaner energy
future.

The research, conducted under the AEG, identified significant potential
benefits from regional collaboration, including development and
operating cost efficiencies, greater diversity in clean and renewable
energy supplies, enhanced stability for ratepayers and lower greenhouse
gas (GHG) emissions for the Atlantic region. This research involved
significant engagement by the power utilities in the four Atlantic
provinces.

“Our Government’s top priority is jobs, growth and long-term
prosperity,” said Minister Valcourt. ”The Atlantic Energy Gateway
initiative has brought the critical players in the region’s energy
sector together to not only work toward an affordable, secure, clean
energy future, but to also maximize the business and job growth
potential of further developing our region’s clean and renewable energy
industries.”

“Today’s announcement demonstrates our government’s ongoing work with
the Atlantic provinces in their transition to a cleaner energy future,”
said Minister Oliver. ”We will continue supporting innovation that
advances clean energy technologies and promotes the sustainable use of
our energy resources across Canada.”

The AEG represents an unprecedented level of collaboration between
federal and provincial governments, and provincial utilities. The
Atlantic provinces and utilities will use this foundational research,
building on the collaborative networks established through the AEG, as
they forge ahead with key energy policy and commercial decisions. In
the near term, provincial ministers will direct their officials to work
with the regional power utilities to further analyse the ways and means
of realizing the identified opportunities.

“The ongoing Atlantic Energy Gateway work, in addition to our New Brunswick Energy Blueprint, lays the ground work for future collaborations and partnerships with
our neighbours in Atlantic Canada,” said the Honourable Craig Leonard,
New Brunswick’s Acting Minister of Energy. “NB Power’s generation
capacity coupled with our geographical location makes New Brunswick not
only a reliable source of electricity for our Atlantic partners, but
also the natural gateway to north-eastern markets.”

“The AEG has shown us that there are significant benefits to Nova Scotia
and the region as a result of being better connected,” said the
Honourable Charlie Parker, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Energy. ”The
studies looked at the Maritime Link and the resulting flow of
electricity to and through Nova Scotia. With this link in place, Nova
Scotia will work with its partners to secure additional value from
regional cooperation.”

“We are going to seize every available opportunity to work together to
access cleaner supplies of energy,” said the Honourable Wes Sheridan,
Prince Edward Island’s Minister of Finance, Energy and Municipal
Affairs. “Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels will help stabilize
power rates, providing greater predictability for the people of the
Atlantic Region.”

“Partnerships like the one formed for the Atlantic Energy Gateway
support a collaborative approach to embrace opportunities for a
stronger energy future for the region,” said the Honourable Jerome
Kennedy, Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Natural Resources. “The
development of Muskrat Falls is a great example of regional cooperation
and would support a strong economic and environmentally sustainable
resource for our province, and provide opportunities for the entire
region.”

The AEG was announced in March 2009 with the objective of enhancing
regional cooperation towards the development of Atlantic Canada’s clean
energy resources. The AEG represents a collaborative approach among the
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Natural Resources Canada, the
Atlantic Provinces, regional power utilities and electricity system
operators.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Federal Ministers Bernard Valcourt and Joe Oliver, together with
provincial energy ministers, Wes Sheridan, Craig Leonard, Charlie
Parker, and Jerome Kennedy gathered in Charlottetown today as part of
the Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference. They announced the
completion and results of eight studies that were carried out under the
Atlantic Energy Gateway initiative.

The AEG is co-managed by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and
Natural Resources Canada in collaboration with the Atlantic
Provinces, regional utilities and electricity system
operators. Research conducted under the AEG demonstrated that increased
collaboration and cooperation among provinces and regional power
utilities in Atlantic Canada will yield significant future benefits to
the region.

                                        

BACKGROUNDER

The Atlantic Energy Gateway (AEG) initiative was announced in March 2009
with the objective of enhancing regional cooperation towards the
development of Atlantic Canada’s clean and renewable energy resources.

The AEG represents a collaborative approach among the Atlantic Canada
Opportunities Agency, Natural Resources Canada, the Atlantic
Provinces, regional power utilities and electricity system operators.

Efforts were directed at eight modeling and research studies, grouped
within two general areas:

1)     Power System Planning and Operations Modeling; and
2)     Clean Energy Industrial and Economic Development.

The following summary provides a description of each of the studies.

Power System Planning and Operations Modeling

The objective of the Power System Planning and Operations Modeling was
to examine the costs and benefits that could result from greater
integration of the Atlantic power systems. Four reports were produced
in association with the following interrelated studies:

      1. Resource Development Modeling - Estimated the economic and
         environmental benefits that could result from planning power
         generation and transmission projects in Atlantic Canada in an
         integrated fashion rather than separately, as is done today.
      2. Transmission Modeling - Quantified the increased inter-provincial
         transmission capacity that would be achieved by a number of key
         transmission upgrade options within Atlantic Canada, as well as
         the associated costs with such projects.
      3. Power System Balancing Modeling- Estimated the operational cost
         savings that could be achieved by balancing power supply and
         demand in Atlantic Canada on a common basis rather than
         separately, as is done today.
      4. Power System Operations Options and Considerations - Reviewed
         various models for operating the power systems in the Atlantic
         Region and issues associated with their adoption.

Each province possesses important renewable resources and clean energy
assets. Developing them strategically will have benefits for all
parties. The AEG study work involved unprecedented collaboration
amongst the regional utilities, which took on the challenge of modeling
the regional power systems out to 2040.

The modeling outcomes indicate that, through regional cooperation, there
is significant opportunity for development and operating cost
efficiencies, greater diversity in clean and renewable energy supplies,
enhanced stability for ratepayers and lower greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions for the Atlantic region. Important savings in capital and
operating costs could be avoided by planning collaboratively, and
further savings could be realized by also balancing hour-by-hour supply
and demand needs on a more regional scale.

Clean and Renewable Energy Industrial and Economic Development

The second component of the AEG work was to examine various issues
related to the development of the Atlantic Region’s clean and renewable
energy industry. The research agenda was carried out through four
individual studies:

      1. Financing of Renewable Electricity Projects in Atlantic Canada-
         Identified and analyzed the challenges associated with financing
         of renewable energy projects by independent power producers in the
         Atlantic Provinces.
      2. Regional Clean and Renewable Energy Market Opportunities -
         Identified interprovincial and export opportunities for Atlantic
         Canadian clean and renewable energy.
      3. Renewable Generation Supply Chain Opportunities - Examined a range
         of issues associated with opportunities for Atlantic Canadian
         firms in the supply chain for various renewable generation
         technologies including onshore and offshore wind, tidal energy,
         biomass energy, and systems to power remote on- and off-grid
         communities.
      4. Research, Development and Demonstration - Examined the current
         state of clean and renewable energy research, development and
         demonstration in Atlantic Canada.

The analysis indicated that while large renewable energy projects such
as those in the wind sector may be capitalized and developed on the
same terms as those in other parts of Canada, and indeed North America,
smaller project developers do face obstacles in accessing capital at
competitive rates and project ‘soft’ costs can be problematic.

While current New England wholesale electricity prices are historically
low due to the abundance of unconventional natural gas, there will
continue to be a premium paid for renewable power as future renewable
and environmental regulations become more stringent.

Key findings with respect to research, development, and demonstration
projects in Atlantic Canada reveal a diversity of academic and
institutional work in a number of sub-sectors. The region also
encompasses leading R&D work that may hold the promise of
commercialization and broader sector potential developments. Many
technologies currently under development may have marketable
applications outside of the region.

Atlantic Canada is well-positioned to take advantage of new
opportunities in the clean and renewable sector, in particular those
elements of the supply chain relevant to the marine sector. For
example, while current business opportunities to service the tidal
power sector are limited, the region is well positioned in terms of
industrial infrastructure to contribute substantially to this supply
chain as it matures.

Executive summaries for the AEG reports can be accessed on the ACOA
website at:
http://www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca/eng/publications/ResearchStudies/Pages/Home.aspx#aeg.

SOURCE ATLANTIC CANADA OPPORTUNITIES AGENCY (ACOA)


Source: PR Newswire