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Canada considers new, single agency for offshore renewables development

Canada's federal government is developing new regulationsfor offshore renewable energy developments in an effort to streamline rules andmove decision-making into a single agency.

Natural Resources Canada is reviewing policies from the U.S.and a number of European nations that would cover offshore wind, wave and tidalcurrent technologies. Responsibility for those types of developments iscurrently spread over several government departments. The initiative was laidout in the federal government's 2016 budget, spokeswoman Tania Carreira Pereirasaid in an email.

"The Government of Canada understands the potential ofoffshore renewable energy as a new source of electricity," Pereira said.The budget supports the department's "advancement of a legislativeframework for offshore renewable energy. As part of this work, NaturalResources Canada is examining options for the development of a federallegislative framework that would enable a regulatory regime specifically foroffshore renewable energy projects."

Canada has an operating tidal power project, the 20-MWNova Scotia PowerInc.-owned Annapolis Royal Tidal plant. A second plant is underconstruction, the 300-MW Bayof Fundy Tidal facility, which also is in Nova Scotia. Two of thatplant's three units with a capacity of 4 MW are expected to be online in 2017.A completion date for a third 296-MW unit has not been announced. Calgary,Alberta-based pipeline company Enbridge Inc. in May bought a C$282 million stake in a wind farm off thecoast of France, adding to its 25% stake in the 400-MW Rampion wind farm of theU.K. coast.

Power companies along Canada's Atlantic seaboard haveexpressed interest in offshore development. The government plans to consultwith local stakeholders once it has completed its review of international regulations,Pereira said.

The department will "conduct broad stakeholderengagement later on this fall and winter with provinces and territories,Indigenous organizations, industry associations and environmental organizationsto further inform the development of the framework," she said.