Public Finance & Fiscal Federalism

Whether it is electricity, or oil & gas, there is extensive research on energy policy.

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Research Overview: Energy & Environment

Energy drives all economic activity, and no industrial or post-industrial society can do without plentiful, affordable supplies of it. Consumers and businesses need affordable, reliable energy to conduct their day-to-day affairs, and energy production can be a viable industry and driver of economic growth. This is particularly true in a country as vast and as cold as ours.
AIMS research focuses on generating ideas that can help ensure that all Canadians have access to affordable and reliable energy, and examines policy ideas that can help ensure the successful, sustainable development of Atlantic Canada’s energy resources. We focus on a wide range of energy policy issues including those surrounding electricity, oil and gas, tidal power and wind generation.
Our research and innovative policy ideas are helping to eliminate a “zero-sum” mindset in this area, which holds that there is an inherent and irreconcilable tension between economic progress and environmental protection. Instead, we have repeatedly shown that economic and environmental success can go hand-in-hand, and that smart public policy choices can help us achieve both of these important objectives.

Research Focus

Recent research has shown that New Brunswick may have significant onshore shale gas reserves, and that Nova Scotia has very significant offshore oil reserves. Drawing lessons from elsewhere in Canada and from around the world, our research will seek to provide policy options and strategies that can lead to the successful development of these natural resources in the Atlantic region in a way that promotes growth and revenue while ensuring the protection of the natural environment. Our research will also explore policies that encourage dealing responsibly with the significant revenues that come from resource development.


Taking Stock of Atlantic Canada’s Electricity Sector
October 2014
Gordon Weil, Senior Fellow, Electricity Policy

Gordon Weil conducts a survey of recent developments in Atlantic Canada’s electricity sector and examines opportunities for additional growth, arguing that consumers and taxpayers would benefit from greater regional cooperation: “Major changes are coming in the Atlantic Canadian electric sector. Increased cooperation between the provinces can help ensure that customers enjoy the maximum possible benefits from these changes. The goal should always be to benefit customers through reliable service at reasonable rates.”

Muskrat Falls: Opportunities to Reduce Risk and Enhance Benefits
July 2014
Gordon Weil, Senior Fellow, Electricity Policy
Ed Martin, President and CEO, Nalcor Energy

Gordon Weil discusses the primary risk factors associated with the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador: unanticipated rate increases, a lack of assurance about off-system sales revenues, and system reliability. He proposes the creation of a regional reliability system and pooled use of energy resources, which could mitigate risk and enhance benefits. In response, Ed Martin, President and CEO of Nalcor Energy, presents an alternate view.

Opinion Pieces

An Opportunity to Improve NB Power
20 November 2014 in the Telegraph Journal
Gordon Weil, Senior Fellow in Electricity Policy
Atlantic union of power grid would lower customer bills
22 October 2014 in the Chronicle Herald
Gordon Weil, Senior Fellow in Electricity Policy
Muskrat Falls: increased risks and opportunity
19 July 2014 in the Telegram
Gordon Weil, Senior Fellow in Electricity Policy
Newfoundland’s departure from protectionism a positive development
11 March 2014 in the Guardian
Shaun Fantauzzo, Policy Analyst
Nova Scotians’ opposition to fracking unsupported
13 December 2013 in the Cape Breton Post
Marco Navarro-Génie, President and CEO
Atlantic power pool would insulate ratepayers
25 October 2013 in the Chronicle Herald
Gordon Weil, Senior Fellow in Electricity Policy

Media Coverage

Study’s author discusses pro-fracking stance (video)
10 December 2014 on CTV Atlantic
Study: Atlantic utilities could collaborate
17 October 2014 in the Chronicle Herald
Drop in gas prices stirs deregulation debate in Nova Scotia (video)
21 October 2014 on CTV Atlantic
Electricity union to benefit Atlantic Canadians (Audio)
22 October 2014 in CBC NB
Energy analyst says customers bear Muskrat Falls risks (video)
29 July 2014 in CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Canaport LNG given permission to export via tankers
26 November 2013 in CBC New Brunswick
Province’s energy plan rebuked
29 November 2013 in VOCM

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