Ministerial working group to study renewables technology

Canada's provincial and federal ministers have created a working group to study options for increasing the deployment of renewable energy technologies. The ministers made the decision at their annual conference in Winnipeg in September. No details about the membership of the group, its mandate or the timeline for its work have been released. During the conference, ministers met with representatives of Canada's energy industry. Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) president Guy Painchaud says federal natural resource minister Herb Dhaliwal is particularly interested in hearing how governments could help boost the use of renewables in Canada. CanWEA is arguing for expansion of the federal wind power production incentive and for the establishment of renewables portfolio standards in provincial electricity markets. "Moreover, we made the point that a ratification of Kyoto is crucial if we want to have some Canadian participation into the huge opportunities created by the reshaping of the international power industry," says Painchaud. Prime Minister Jean Chretien announced at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg that Canada would ratify the Kyoto Protocol by the end of the year. His comments set off a firestorm of opposition, led by the government of Alberta. At the centre of Canada's oil and gas industry, Alberta has launched an advertising campaign claiming the accord will cost Alberta up to C$8 billion annually and is pushing for a "made-in-Canada solution" to the problem of greenhouse gas emission reduction.

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