Canadian Consulting Engineer

Power industry calls for favourable policies

Not surprisingly, the Canadian Electricity Association is calling for governments to foster more investment in the...

August 20, 2003   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Not surprisingly, the Canadian Electricity Association is calling for governments to foster more investment in the country’s electrical infrastructure. The request comes at an opportune time, just after the massive power outage last week, and amid continuing threats of power shortages and rolling blackouts in Ontario.
Hans Konow, president of the Association, warns: “Looking forward at electricity supply and demand over the next 20 years, already tight supply/demand balances in several regions will be exacerbated.”
While the major problem of last Thursday appears to be an overloaded transmission system, the Association points out that Canada also urgently needs to build more generating plants. One estimate is that we will need over 20,000 MW of new generation per decade until the year 2020.
“The electricity blackout last week highlighted to all stakeholders the critical need to put in place policies and regulatory conditions which will support the industry in making the crucial investments required to upgrade the North American electricity system,” says Konow. “In addition to the immediate need to address transmission congestion, demand forecasts clearly indicate that significant new investment will be required for new and replacement generation.”
The Association represents the major utilities and power generating companies, such as Hydro Quebec, as well as smaller companies such as Acres, a consulting engineering firm that has specialized in designing power plants.
In a five-point plan, the Association argues that Canada needs to improve the investment climate for power generating companies, such as through tax reductions and “effective regulation.” It says government and regulatory policies must encourage energy efficiency and alternative energy generation. The organization also favours automated distribution technologies and they advocate more efforts to develop clean coal, recognizing that Canada has large reserves of this fuel.

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