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New Brunswick commission to develop long-term strategy for energy future


October 18, 2010
By Anthony Capkun

Jeannot Volpe and Bill Thompson have been appointed to a new energy commission tasked with developing a long-term plan for a stronger energy future for New Brunswickers, said Premier David Alward and energy minister, Craig Leonard. The commission will recommend a progressive energy policy for New Brunswick and offer advice on the future direction of NB Power. It will release a 10-year strategy with specific recommendations in six months.

“New Brunswickers want predictability and stability in the energy
sector, knowing that their ideas and concerns are being addressed in
setting out a long-term energy strategy,” said Alward. “This commission
will provide concrete, specific actions on how we can best ensure New
Brunswick can enjoy a viable, stable and healthy energy sector now and
in the future.”

Jeannot Volpe was first elected to the legislature in 1995 and retired
following the October 2010 general election. He served as minister of
natural resources and energy, and later as minister of finance for
then-premier Bernard Lord. After the 2006 election, he served as
Official Opposition critic for areas of interest relating to energy,
finance and human resources and was interim leader of the Official
Opposition from Feb. 1, 2007 until Oct. 17, 2008.

William M. (Bill) Thompson served as the first deputy minister of the
new department of energy from 2003-06, and chaired the ad hoc committee
on NB Power restructuring, commercialization and related matters. In
2008, Thompson and former New Brunswick System Operator president
William Marshall produced a report on the structure of the province’s
electricity market and its impact on the structure and governance of NB
Power. He was general manager of the New Brunswick Salmon Growers’
Association from 1991-99, and is a past president of the Canadian
Aquaculture Industry Association.

The commission is one of 10 items the provincial government has
committed to implement by the end of this year. The commission will
build upon the work undertaken by Pierre-Marcel Desjardins and Darrell
Stephenson, who spent time earlier this year consulting with New
Brunswickers and developing a discussion document on New Brunswick’s
energy landscape.

The commission will:
• undertake public consultations with New Brunswickers, neighbouring provinces and states
• develop a clear and measurable energy policy;
• examine the possibilities for long-term energy purchase agreements;
• examine energy production, consumption and exports;
• develop measurable targets on economic activity, environmental performance, cost, reliability and financial performance; and
• develop a long-term debt-management strategy for NB Power.

“By working in consultation with New Brunswickers, I am confident the
commissioners will develop an energy policy that will benefit all
ratepayers in every region of our province,” said Leonard. “I want to
thank these talented and committed New Brunswickers for agreeing to
serve on the commission to address our energy challenges.”