ST. JOHN’S, N.L. (CNB) – Energy Minister Craig Leonard met with his counterparts from Atlantic Canada in St. John’s, N.L., on Jan. 23 to discuss a number of priorities, including clean energy, the Atlantic Energy Gateway Initiative and the Lower Churchill – Muskrat Falls project.

"Atlantic Canada continues to forge ahead with a shared clean and renewable energy agenda, and New Brunswick's new Energy Blueprint provides a clear pathway for significant progress toward a low-carbon electricity generation future," said Leonard, who is also the minister responsible for Efficiency NB. "When the Point Lepreau nuclear generating station returns to service in late 2012, about 65 per cent of the electricity produced in New Brunswick will come from clean, non-emitting or renewable energy sources.

“New Brunswick also recognizes that our geographic location and robust transmission infrastructure position our province as Atlantic Canada's energy gateway to New England and the United States eastern seaboard."

"Through the Atlantic Energy Gateway Initiative, we are exploring potential opportunities to access clean renewable energy at competitive prices," said Wes Sheridan, minister of finance, energy and municipal affairs, Prince Edward Island. "I am impressed with the level of co-operation we have demonstrated through this initiative. I look forward to discussing how a similar model may be applied throughout the country."

"The Atlantic Energy Gateway Initiative is a great example of how the four Atlantic provinces can work together and with Ottawa on regional energy issues for the betterment of the entire region," said Charlie Parker, minister of energy, Nova Scotia. "The Muskrat Falls development is a good example how this can be done. For Nova Scotia, it means an abundant supply of clean hydroelectricity, stable electricity prices and transmission improvements for more electricity choices."
"The meetings were positive and provided opportunity to provide an update on Muskrat Falls, and discuss the tremendous opportunities and benefits that will exist for Atlantic Canada and the country," said Jerome Kennedy, minister of natural resources, Newfoundland and Labrador. “Muskrat Falls will provide significant employment, economic and environmental benefit, and it will strengthen the energy market in Atlantic Canada by providing a renewable, sustainable energy resource that will be a benefit to Newfoundland and Labrador and to all in the region."

The ministers also discussed hydro, nuclear, tidal, wind, solar and biofuels; and the safe and responsible development of onshore oil and gas.

The next federal-provincial-territorial energy and mines ministers' meeting is scheduled to be held in Charlottetown, P.E.I., from Sept. 9 to 12.