The recent drop in oil prices is an opportunity in disguise for Newfoundland and Labrador, and Atlantic Canada more generally. It’s an opportunity to step out of the intoxicating smoke of provincial resource revenue and say: “What on Earth were we thinking by spending all our oil revenue as fast it flowed in! Let’s get off this roller coaster and transform our oil resources into a permanent financial asset that will pay off in perpetuity.”
It’s blasphemy, but when Peter Lougheed decided in 1976 to put 30 per cent of natural resource revenue into the Alberta Heritage Fund, he got it wrong. It should’ve been 100 per cent. In Lougheed’s defence, he got it a lot less wrong than the premiers who came after him, and he didn’t have the benefit of hindsight. The last 40 years on the resource revenue roller-coaster show that the best way to deal with the volatile and intergenerational nature of resource revenue is to transform it into a permanent financial asset that produces a steady stream of annual revenue.
Co-authored by Senior Fellow, Robert Roach, Research Associate, Jeff Collins, and AIMS President and CEO, Marco Navarro-Genie, the paper – A Good Problem to Have: Lessons for Atlantic Canada from Alberta’s Experience with Natural Resource Revenue – calls for stability in Atlantic Canada’s strategy to transform non-renewable resources into a permanent financial asset.
Nova Scotia won’t be getting nuclear power from New Brunswick, even though the two provinces have just hitched their electrical grids together, an NB Power official says. A Maine energy expert said he thinks joint dispatch will save money and end up being expanded to include Newfoundland and Labrador. “At the point that the Maritime Link is completed, the capacity on the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick line automatically increases without any new hardware,” Gordon Weil said from Harpswell, Maine. “That will improve the operation of an agreement like this.” Weil, a senior fellow on electricity policy forWeil, a senior fellow on electricity policy for the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies in Halifax, said co-op dispatch is similar to the regional power pool for which he’s advocated. “There is no reason why this shouldn’t work and continue to work. And, eventually, I think there will be incentives to increase the ties among the provinces so that more power can be shared.”
A report released by AIMS and authored by Paul Bennett and Derek Gillis outlines the rising cost of student transportation in the Maritimes, despite declining enrolment.
AIMS Senior Fellow in Electricity Policy Gordon Weil outlines a number of ways in which the provincial government of New Brunswick could improve that province's utility.
AIMS Senior Fellow in Electricity Policy Gordon Weil outlines the benefits of building an electricity union in Atlantic Canada and argues that it would ultimately benefit consumers.
Political considerations will always be present, but policy objectives need to be defined with the customer always in mind. The goal should be to benefit customers in terms of reliable service at reasonable rates. Increased co-operation between the Atlantic provinces can help achieve these objectives, ensuring that consumers realize the full benefits of the opportunities that will be available in the years ahead. AIMS Senior Fellow in Electricity Policy Gordon Weil discusses his latest paper on the potential for cooperation in Atlantic Canada on the radio!
AIMS President and CEO Marco Navarro-Genie discusses gas price regulation in Nova Scotia and argues that "The people who are setting the prices for the regulatory body don't seem to get it all together straight and have consistently added prices that are higher."
Muskrat Falls could be a catalyst for more regional co-operation on electricity, says a new study by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies. The paper, released Thursday, concludes that transmission links being built for the $6.9-billion hydro project in Labrador should spur the Atlantic provinces and their electrical utilities to work together more. Gordon Weil, the think-tank’s senior fellow on electricity policy, said power line expansion — including the $1.5-billion Maritime Link — could be used to make the region’s grid more efficient and less expensive to operate. “The transmission associated with Muskrat Falls creates the opportunity for improved regional co-operation, ” Weil said in an interview from Harpswell, Maine. The hydro project’s backers say the benefits of the ratepayer-funded link include better transmission capacity and more options for electricity imports.