July 26, 2004

Industry coalition views investment in energy supply, efficiency, technology as top priority

A new coalition of energy industry associations in Canada has called on federal, provincial and territorial energy ministers to adopt a new energy framework based on inter-jurisdictional co-operation, open dialogue with stakeholders, and a commitment to market solutions complemented by intelligent policy and regulation where appropriate. The Energy Dialogue Group presented its joint submission, Time for a New Focus for Energy in Canada, to the annual meeting of the Council of Energy Ministers last week in Iqaluit, Nunavut.

As a key priority, the coalition urges ministers to encourage investment in energy supply, demand management (including energy efficiency) and new technologies to meet Canada's future energy needs in a sustainable manner.

The Energy Dialogue Group represents 14 associations within the energy sector covering production, transmission, delivery and end use of oil, natural gas and electricity. Its position and recommendations are rooted in the belief that freely functioning markets are essential to Canada's energy future. One of the key components in such markets is a policy environment which attracts private investment capital.

At the same time, other aspects of government policy will play a critical role, such as those relating to environmental protection, market regulation and access to information. The group's submission focuses on the immediate need to create conditions to attract more private investment in energy supply systems.

The first step, it says, is to develop more efficient and effective regulatory review processes. Governments should work together and with industry to ensure that regulation is smarter, i.e. just as effective in protecting the environment and the public interest, but faster, at lower cost and with more certainty relating to outcomes.

Governments also have the potential to improve demand responsiveness by helping consumers make smarter energy choices, says the paper. Accordingly, regulatory bodies should work together and with industry to create the right incentives for energy efficiency.

With regard to investing in the future and improving information, the group calls for multi-sectoral co-operation in ensuring the Canada invests in and supports new energy technologies, along with the next generation of skills to deploy and manage those technologies; and in making improved information available to ensure better policy, better functioning markets and greater consumer confidence.

The Energy Dialogue Group submission may be viewed on-line at www.centreforenergy.com. The coalition represents the following associations: Association of Power Producers of Ontario; Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors; Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers; Canadian Electricity Association; Canadian Energy Pipeline Association; Canadian Gas Association; Canadian Hydropower Association; Canadian Nuclear Association; Canadian Petroleum Products Institute; Canadian Wind Energy Association; Coal Association of Canada; Energy Council of Canada; Petroleum Services Association of Canada; and the Quebec Energy Efficiency Association.

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