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November 23, 2004
For immediate release

Minister Provides Progress Report on Energy

Environment, Energy & Forestry

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Minister of Environment, Energy and Forestry Jamie Ballem provided an update today on the Energy Framework and Renewable Energy Strategy, highlighting significant progress that has been made since June.

“When I released the strategy, I said we were setting some ambitious targets. In fact, industry experts have called PEI’s strategy the most progressive renewable energy policy in North America,” said Minister Ballem. “I am pleased to report today that we have made tremendous progress over the past several months and are well on the way to meeting our targets.”

The Prince Edward Island Energy Framework and Renewable Energy Strategy includes an action plan to enhance the role of renewable energy, and the framework around which a comprehensive provincial energy strategy will be shaped. Minister Ballem said a Renewable Energy Act will be introduced today, putting into effect several items in the action plan. The act and regulations which will follow will require utilities to acquire at least 15 per cent of their electrical energy from renewables by 2010; allow for net metering for small renewable energy systems and a guaranteed feed-in tariff for community, wind cooperative and large systems; and restrict large-scale wind developments to designated development areas.

Minister Ballem said the target of 15 per cent of electricity generated from renewables by 2010 will be reached primarily through expansion in wind energy. In addition to the research work that is ongoing at North Cape through the Atlantic Wind Test Site, the Province now has 13 towers monitoring wind speed and direction.

“We will soon have 12 months of monitoring data at the eastern tip of the province, and all indications are that the wind resource in that area compares very favourably with the average winds of 8.3 metres per second that we see at North Cape,” said Minister Ballem.

The Minister added that the PEI Energy Corporation expects to issue a request for proposals for 30 megawatts of wind in the spring of 2005, with the development to be in place the following year. Islanders will have an opportunity to invest in the development and share in its ownership.

Updating progress on biofuels, Minister Ballem said the Province expects results in the near future on a feasibility study on generating biogas from meat-packing waste; and a preliminary analysis on the feasibility of producing biodiesel from energy crops such as canola has been completed.

“This initial work looked at the acreage that would be required to support a plant, the income opportunity for Island farmers, as well as issues such as capital construction costs, and estimated operating costs,” said Minister Ballem. “We know from this work that a more detailed assessment is warranted and we will be entering into contracts for that work before the end of the fiscal year.”

The Energy Framework and Renewable Energy Strategy also included several action items for Government to lead by example. Updating progress on those items, Minister Ballem noted transportation efficiency standards for new or replacement vehicles in the Government fleet have been approved and will come into effect April 1, 2005; and discussions have been held with General Motors regarding the potential to convert some Environment, Energy and Forestry trucks to gas-electric hybrids. As well, an inventory of Government’s energy use has been completed and a comprehensive energy audit will follow to identify areas for potential energy savings.

Minister Ballem once again stressed that the Renewable Energy Strategy is only one component of the Energy Framework. He said work continues on several fronts to develop the overall provincial energy strategy.

“As I said in June, we are developing a Made in PEI energy solution but we cannot do that in isolation. Our peak electrical demand is just over 200 megawatts, compared to a total electrical demand in the region of 6,900 megawatts. So our overall energy strategy is going to be influenced by the work of the Atlantic Energy Ministers’ Forum and by actions taken to address climate change.”

Minister Ballem added there continues to be rapid change on both those fronts. In response to a motion during the spring sitting of the Legislative Assembly, a Special Committee on Climate Change was established and held public consultations on a climate change strategy for Prince Edward Island. The committee will report back to the Legislative Assembly this fall.

Meanwhile, Atlantic Energy Ministers have met twice since the Energy Framework and Renewable Energy Strategy was released in June and have approved priority areas for cooperation and immediate action including climate change, regional renewable portfolio standards, and implementation of renewable energy sources.

The Progress Report on the Energy Framework and Renewable Energy Strategy can be found online at www.gov.pe.ca/go/renewables.

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Media Contact: Jamie Ballem
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