Energy experts urge eastern provinces to develop strategies with shared goals

Electrical tower

Several university researchers have jointly published a white paper on energy policy in Eastern Canada, even as Alberta Premier Jim Prentice met with his counterparts, Ontario’s Kathleen Wynn and Quebec’s Philippe Couillard, this week to promote the Energy East project.

The white paper, identifying key goals and priorities for action on energy from the perspective of Eastern Canada, has been created by scholars from Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Quebec and Ontario, who came together for a workshop at the University of Montreal in November.

Mark Winfield
Mark Winfield

“These actions would deliver significant short- and long-term economic, social and environmental gains for all participating provinces,” says Mark Winfield, York professor of environmental studies and co-chair of the University’s Sustainable Energy Initiative, who is one the co-authors of the white paper. “They would facilitate exchanges between the different markets, encourage economic efficiency and better leverage the important renewable and low-impact energy resources found in Eastern Canada.”

According to the experts, cooperation in the energy sector could facilitate the adoption of efficient climate mitigation strategies. The white paper contains substantive proposals building on the energy-trade agreement announced by the premiers of Ontario and Quebec in late November.

Citing the successful bilateral and multilateral initiatives undertaken in North America and Europe to develop common energy strategies, the researchers say the eastern provinces will also benefit from working together on the following shared goals:

Opportunities for short-term cooperation

  • Building on the Ontario/Quebec November agreement, establish a strategic plan regarding the strengthening of interconnections and long-term electricity supply in Eastern Canada.
  • Building on the Ontario/Quebec November agreement, expand common policies and initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Develop a common position/approach for evaluating and managing the risks, costs and benefits associated with the interprovincial transportation of energy, including fossil fuels.

Priorities for a long-term transformation

  • Promote energy efficiency by implementing more stringent regulatory frameworks (e.g. building codes, appliance and equipment efficiency standards, fuel standards) and effective price signals.
  • Use existing hydroelectric storage capacity to support large-scale renewable energy development and integration across Eastern Canada.
  • Strengthen the focus on sustainable transportation, including the role of the electrification of transportation, intermodal shift for commercial transportation and improved commercial and passenger fuel standards.
  • Develop and implement a common regulatory framework for evaluating the impacts and benefits of non-conventional hydrocarbon exploration and development.