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February 22, 2011
For immediate release

Atlantic Energy Ministers agree to speed up regional co-operation efforts

Environment, Energy & Forestry

Atlantic energy ministers heralded a new era of cooperation during a meeting in Halifax today.

The ministers agreed to identify priority energy opportunities and find ways to maximize benefits for the region.

“There was a strong mood of cooperation,” said Energy Minister Charlie Parker. “We received updates on progress made to date and directed our officials to accelerate efforts on energy cooperation and understanding the opportunities that are critical to the energy futures all of us are planning.”

“It is important for us to discuss the regional benefits of energy opportunities such as the development of the Muskrat Falls phase of the Lower Churchill Project. Nova Scotia recognizes the potential for us in this development and we are pleased to be partners with Newfoundland and Labrador.”

This was the first meeting of Atlantic energy ministers since the Council of Atlantic Premiers made a commitment in November to work on finding common ground. Ministers agreed they are better working together on initiatives identified through the Atlantic Energy Gateway (AEG) Initiative, on a National Energy Strategy framework and energy efficiency initiatives.

“The need for a regional approach to energy issues in Atlantic Canada has never been more pressing,” said Prince Edward Island Minister of Environment, Energy and Forestry Richard Brown. “I am pleased with this spirit of regional co-operation. Working together we can strengthen the energy sector for the benefit of all Atlantic Canadians, generating more economic activity, creating more jobs and lowering energy costs in the region.”

The ministers also discussed regional benefit and opportunities associated with the development of the Lower Churchill Falls hydroelectric project.

“The meetings provided the opportunity for constructive discussion on a variety of regional opportunities and energy priorities, which in turn will strengthen the Atlantic Canadian energy market,” said Newfoundland and Labrador Natural Resources Minister Shawn Skinner.

“I am pleased with the approach to work together, discuss issues and exchange ideas to benefit a strong, united region. I was particularly pleased to discuss the development of Muskrat Falls, which will provide tremendous benefit for the Atlantic Canadian region, and look forward to a continued partnership in support of the development.”

The ministers agreed to share information on energy efficiency programming to help people reduce their energy consumption. The provinces are also exploring harmonizing standards, policy and planning initiatives, programs, and building codes.

“As this was the first Atlantic Energy Ministers’ meeting for three of us, it was a great opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities we see in our respective provinces and how, by working together, we can derive mutual benefits,” said New Brunswick Minister of Energy and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Craig Leonard.

“We were able to discuss a wide range of issues, such as energy efficiency and electricity generation from a regional perspective, and come to understandings on where we can work together. I see this meeting as a starting point for a more collaborative approach to dealing with the issues we all face.”

To maximize the opportunities for collaboration on research and development and strengthened electricity transmission, the ministers want to complete work on AEG initiatives as quickly as possible. Those results will be an important part of provincial and national energy policies and planning.

The ministers say work will also continue on what the Atlantic region wants in a National Energy Strategy framework. Those concerns will be raised during the next federal-provincial-territorial energy ministers’ meeting in Alberta in July.

Media Contact: Kim Devine
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