Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

National energy strategy in works

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PREMIER Greg Selinger spent Thursday and Friday in Toronto talking about a national energy plan for Canada.

He's one of three premiers developing a national energy strategy on behalf of the Council of the Federation, which represents all provinces and territories. The other premiers are Alberta Premier Alison Redford and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale.

The three premiers released a 10-point plan on how to push energy sustainability and conservation.

"The next stage is to go out and consult Canadians on what their thoughts and ideas are for a Canadian energy strategy," Selinger said.

That plan includes promoting energy efficiency, moving to a lower carbon economy, improving energy information and awareness and training more people to work in the energy sector.

The premiers also said the provinces and territories should pursue more formalized participation in international negotiations on energy use.

Selinger said helping remote communities switch from diesel-powered generation -- four Manitoba communities use diesel generators -- should be undertaken immediately. "Most every province has some northern and remote communities."

He said another theme is enhancing generation and transmission among provinces. "The east-west grid is of great interest to people," he said. "There was general consensus we should try to be suppliers of energy to each other both through a pipeline going east and energy flowing east and west of the electricity side."

Manitoba is continuing talks with other provinces such as Saskatchewan and Alberta on supplying hydroelectricity to them at a future point.

The council launched the initiative to develop a national energy strategy last year.

Redford has been the one leading the call for Canada to take a more unified approach to energy development, especially when it comes to building the pipeline infrastructure that's needed to get oil and gas to new markets. But natural resources development falls under provincial jurisdiction, and it has been a challenge getting all the provinces to subscribe to a single vision.

The premiers meet July 24.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 20, 2013 B4

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