Caution urged over wind energy subsidies

MONTREAL — A national wind energy conference heard that Bombardier’s trade battle with the U.S. is a warning sign about the potential impact of government subsidies on accessing the large American electricity market.

Jean-Francois Nolet, vice-president of policy and government affairs for the Canadian Wind Energy Association, says Canadian electricity exports risk being accused of being dumped if they don’t compete on the same basis as power produced in the U.S.

Nolet says Canada has to be careful about how electricity transmissions lines to the U.S. are funded.

Any federal funding of big infrastructure projects related to north-south energy transmission would have to be done in a way that doesn’t block exports, which will be a big driver of renewable energy demand in eastern Canada, he said in an interview Tuesday.

Bombardier faces huge tariffs after the Department of Commerce sided with Boeing’s complaint over exports of the CSeries commercial jet. It imposed 220 per cent preliminary countervailing duties on eventual exports and is expected to announce large preliminary anti-dumping duties on Thursday.

A final decision on export duties will depend on a ruling in December by the department or the U.S. International Trade Commission early next year on alleged harm to Boeing.

Canada is the world’s eighth largest producer of wind power with almost 12,000 megawatts of production, led by Ontario and Quebec.

The oil producing provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan are expected to undergo the country’s biggest wind production growth by adding 7,000 MW by 2030 as they aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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