A new AIMS paper says there is a “natural benefit” to the establishment of a regional electricity market in the “Atlantica” region straddling the Canada-U.S. border and proposes an innovative mechanism for drawing provinces and states together to create this market.

THE ATLANTICA POWER MARKET: A Plan for Joint Action by Gordon L. Weil argues that the region is primed for the development of a more competitive regional market for electricity. The problem he considers is how to get the provinces and states to operate their power grids to promote the development of this market.

Dr. Weil, who has been involved in national and international energy policy since 1980, proposes the adoption of identical laws in each participating province and state. These laws would set the basic rules for open access to the power grid for market participants.

Power exchanges among players in New England, New York, the Atlantic Provinces and Quebec are in decline, Dr. Weil says. These areas constitute “Atlantica”.

“There has to be commitment at the most senior political level to make this happen. Regional leaders have to sit down and decide how to promote more coordination and uniformity among regulatory authorities,” he says. Political leaders in both Canada and the United States often speak of the benefits of closer linkages in the Atlantic region, but little progress has been made so far.

AIMS president Brian Lee Crowley added, “The prosperity of Atlantic Canada increasingly depends on how we deal with energy issues. There is clearly a growing awareness of the importance of regional co-operation. It is vitally important that the people crafting energy policy continue to examine strategies of building markets with our neighbours to the south, building on common interests and exploring our economic potential.”

This paper is being released just prior to a major conference on electricity organized by AIMS and the Electricity Consumers Alliance of Nova Scotia (ECANS). “Plugging in the International Northeast”, a Canada-US Dialogue on solving this region’s electricity challenges, will take place in Moncton New Brunswick on Wednesday, 12 November. Featured speakers include Mr. Weil, who will present his AIMS paper and Curt Hebert, past Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington, the body responsible for establishing energy regulatory policy in the US, including the electricity sector, as well as many other industry leaders and analysts.

For further information, contact:

Jordi Morgan
Director of Communications and Development
AIMS (902) 429-1143
Direct (902) 446-3532
Cell (902) 452-1172
Fax (902) 425-1393
jordimorgan@aims.ca