Ministers' conference focuses on energy sustainability


ST. ANDREWS -- Canada's energy ministers concluded their annual meeting in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, today and acknowledged the direct impact that higher energy costs will have on all Canadians and some sectors of the Canadian economy. Ministers called for a renewed commitment to work collaboratively to ensure continued prosperity from Canada's energy resources. Ministers also agreed to work together to enhance the security, reliability and sustainability of Canada's energy systems.

The meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable R. Bruce Fitch, Minister of Energy for the Province of New Brunswick, and Deputy Minister Richard Fadden, on behalf of the Minister of Natural Resources Canada, the Honourable R. John Efford.

Ministers also met with energy industry leaders representing the Energy Dialogue Group and the Coalition of Industrial Energy Consumers to discuss energy supply and demand issues and rising energy prices.

"We must work closer than ever to inform Canadians about their energy options and how we are all working towards having a sustainable energy future," Minister Fitch said. "To that end, the Council of Energy Ministers is perhaps more important now than it has ever been."

"Canada has abundant energy resources and energy potential, and has benefited greatly from competitive energy costs, supply and trade," said Deputy Minister Fadden. "However, events such as Hurricane Katrina have focused our attention on price increases and the potential for supply disruptions. It is important that governments create the right environment to encourage secure, reliable domestic supply. In addition, we must also reduce demand through energy efficiency and move to a more sustainable future that includes cleaner energy sources and investment in science and technology towards long-term solutions."

Minister Fitch said that the recent changes in the energy sector at the global level have made it imperative to improve communications and cooperation between governments in order to meet unprecedented challenges.

Ministers agreed that while Canada has a vast amount of energy potential -- oil, natural gas, hydro, coal, nuclear, wind, biomass, biofuels as well as other renewable forms of energy -- all Canadians must work together to develop real and sustainable solutions to meet Canada's energy needs. Furthermore, these solutions should be developed in a way that addresses environmental challenges such as air quality and climate change, with conservation being a priority.

Ministers also discussed their respective energy policy frameworks. They acknowledged the importance of relying on markets to guide consumer and investment decisions related to energy. At the same time, governments will work together to improve reliability by encouraging greater energy efficiency, more reliance on renewable energy, the development of new energy technologies and new supply development. Several Ministers indicated that they will be bringing forward energy strategies over the coming months.

Ministers reiterated the importance of the work of the Council of Energy Ministers and their Deputy Ministers' ongoing dialogue with industry energy representatives and the various federal, provincial and territorial working groups to help governments deliver on their respective energy strategies. To that end, Ministers endorsed the continuation of technical work in the areas of conservation, energy efficiency, energy technology, regulatory efficiency, reliability and renewable energy and fuels.

Ministers also recognized the need to provide timely and accurate information to Canadians to allow for informed decisions on energy supply options and conservation practices.

Federal, provincial and territorial governments in Canada are committed to ensuring that Canadians benefit from our natural resources -- now and in the future.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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