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P.E.I. premier takes Atlantic energy grid proposal to Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, discusses issues with P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan in this recent file photo.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, discusses issues with P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan in this file photo. - Prime Minister's Office photo by Adam Scotti
OTTAWA, Ont. —

A proposal to establish a shared, Atlantic Canada wide electricity corridor was front and centre during a meeting Tuesday night in Ottawa between Premier Wade MacLauchlan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The energy corridor was a key priority of last week’s meeting of the four Atlantic Canadian premiers in Charlottetown. The focus on electricity transmission was prompted by the 2017 completion of a subsea cable linking Newfoundland and Labrador with Cape Breton, a cable that will be used to transfer power to Nova Scotia from the soon-to-be-completed Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam in Labrador.

MacLauchlan said his meeting with Trudeau, which was also attended by Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, allowed the P.E.I. premier to present a proposal for a partnership between the federal government and the Atlantic provinces on the energy corridor.

“We had a good discussion there,” MacLauchlan said.

Low capacity of electrical lines, including a stretch between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, is creating bottlenecks in the region’s electrical grid. Federal funding is needed to upgrade the capacity, which could also allow P.E.I. to supply renewable energy, such as wind power, into the grid.

“That’s a stretch where we could benefit, from P.E.I.’s point of view,” MacLauchlan said.

MacLauchlan said these upgrades could ensure the Island has reliable access to electricity, even during disruptive winter storms.

Last November, a powerful wind and snow storm cut off P.E.I.’s electricity supply from NB Power. At its peak, this resulted in power outages for 80,000 Island residents.

MacLauchlan said Tuesday’s discussion with Trudeau also touched on improvements to Northumberland Ferries between Wood Islands, P.E.I. and Caribou, N.S., as well as the successes and challenges that have accompanied economic and population growth in P.E.I.

“I communicated that I was fully supportive of initiatives to make the Wood Islands ferry service as reliable as possible,” MacLauchlan said.


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