Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hydro development key to Manitoba prosperity

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Re: Mr. Sale's advice is sound (Editorials, Jan. 19). Suggesting Manitoba should halt the development of our hydro is like telling Alberta they shouldn't develop their oil. Manitoba families know that hydro is our oil, but cleaner and greener. Building Manitoba Hydro is about building Manitoba's future.

Since an NDP government first harnessed the potential of our northern rivers for both domestic consumption and export revenue, hydro has been the lynchpin of Manitoba's economy. Our publicly owned utility remains focused on ensuring that families continue to have access to the low-cost power they need, while ensuring businesses can continue to grow, invest and create jobs.

Today, we're diversifying our green energy assets with new wind farms and the highest rate of geothermal installations in Canada. But these technologies are no substitute for the abundant hydro power our export customers demand.

Even with our leading-edge Power Smart energy efficiency initiatives, increasing demand from Manitoba consumers alone requires approximately 80 additional megawatts of capacity each year.

Hydro has also signed long-term export contracts that will bring in an estimated $29 billion over the next 30 years.

Those revenues will help pay for the needed investments that are being made now to ensure Manitoba families and businesses have the power they need at affordable rates.

Last year, Manitoba families paid on average $550 less on their total hydro, home-heating and auto insurance bill than those in any other province in the country.

We are blessed with a natural resource that is the envy of other provinces and states. By developing it in a responsible way, we are supplying the reliable, renewable energy our export customers have told us they want. All while creating good jobs and prosperity across Manitoba, including northern and aboriginal communities.

Other green-energy sources such as wind and geothermal will remain an important part of our renewable mix. We'll continue pioneering innovative new Power Smart tools to help Manitobans save energy and money. But let's not lose sight of our biggest natural resource advantage and its potential to power our prosperity for generations.

DAVE CHOMIAK

Minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 28, 2013 A11

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