Canada's energy ministers should establish a National Wind Interest Group (NWIG) to bring together governments and industry to deal with potential barriers to wind power development, says the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). In a brief to the recent annual meeting of the Council of Energy Ministers, CanWEA points out that while many provinces want to move forward with wind energy development, they are wrestling with issues like transmission and interconnection, zoning and permitting, environmental assessment, tax policy, green power procurement, public education and green credit trading. "Right now, unfortunately, many of those issues are being dealt with separately within each jurisdiction in a manner that is not very efficient and is actually quite problematic, in some cases, because some provinces don't have the resources to be able to deal with them all," says CanWEA's Robert Hornung. Through a NWIG, he says, governments could work co-operatively, sharing information and analyses that each province could use to develop its wind policies. CanWEA is also part of the recently formed Energy Dialogue Group (EDG), an informal coalition of 14 industry associations -- including the oil, gas, coal, nuclear and electricity sectors -- that is calling on the ministers to find ways to attract more private investment in Canada's energy supply. "Essentially, our message to the ministers is that the energy world has changed significantly," says Hornung. "We are entering a future of high energy prices and significant new investment requirements, but right now the policy framework does not provide the incentives required to ensure that investment is going to be forthcoming." The first step is to develop more effective regulatory review processes, says the EDG.
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