At the Stikeman Elliot energy blog, we decided to get into the
spirit of the season and compile our own list of the top 5 Canadian
energy stories of the year.
5. GHGs and Cap-and-Trade
There continued to be developments in the regulation of
greenhouse gases (GHGs) across the country and globally in 2011. From January to March,
Manitoba sought public comment on a proposed cap-and-trade
system for GHGs following the Western Climate Initiative (WCI)
framework, and in October, Quebec published draft harmonizing regulations in
accordance with its WCI commitments to enable a functional
cap-and-trade system for GHGs, and adopted them on December 14. Quebec's
cap-and-trade legislation will come into force on January 1,
4. Continued Renewable Power Development
A number of important developments for Ontario's feed-in
tariff (FIT) renewable energy program transpired in 2011, including
the Ontario Power Authority's 1-year extension offer and termination rights waiver, the granting of
nearly 2 gigawatts worth of FIT contracts (here and here), a NAFTA challenge of the program and its 2-month
review and public comment period that just
ended on December 14. The results of the review including new
pricing schedules are due late winter or early spring 2012.
Meanwhile in Nova Scotia, feed-in tariff rates were set in July and finalized in
September when the application process opened for the Community
Feed-In Tariff (COMFIT) program, as outlined in its guide.
3. Nuclear Renaissance?
The year began with signs of a nuclear renaissance, but that came into doubt
after the Fukushima disaster in Japan. Germany promptly announced the country's electricity
generation would fully withdraw from nuclear energy by 2022, but it
is unclear if other jurisdictions will follow Germany's
lead. Ontario continued to consider nuclear as part of its
Long-Term Energy Plan and decisions regarding the refurbishment of
existing plants and the building of new ones are expected in
2. Delivering Canadian Energy to the World
Delivering Canadian energy to the rest of the world was a hot
topic this year, exemplified by the Keystone XL pipeline saga.
While TransCanada reached an agreement with the Nebraska state government
to reroute the pipeline in November, it still remains unclear if
President Obama will make a decision on the controversial project
In October the National Energy Board (NEB) granted Kitimat LNG a 20-year license to
export 10 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year
from British Columbia, and a new $5 billion export terminal in
Kitimat is expected to begin shipping LNG to Asia by 2015.
Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell PLC purchased a marine terminal near Kitimat with
a view to exporting even larger quantities of LNG with its Korean
and Japanese partners. Various proposals have been raised to increase crude
oil transport capacity to the West Coast of Canada, including
projects by Enbridge, Kinder Morgan, Canadian National Railway Co.
and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.
And after a five-year application process and many more years in
planning, the NEB finally granted a Certificate of Public Convenience
and Necessity to the Mackenzie Gas Project led by Imperial Oil,
after having approved the application for its construction
and operation in December 2010. Whether the project actually
proceeds now that it has approval remains to be seen.
1. The Emergence of Shale Gas
Continued discoveries and development of unconventional
gas resources in North America have the potential to dramatically
change the continent's energy landscape in ways that could not
have been predicted a few years ago. Among other things, the
potential for low cost gas-fired electricity generation has brought
into question the wisdom of Hydro Quebec's current "big
hydro" projects and Ontario's plans to refurbish and
expand nuclear. But environmental questions about shale gas
extraction linger, prompting movement to review and set guidelines for practices such as
Happy holidays and best wishes in the new year to all of our
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Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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