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Alberta auditor probing relationship between energy regulator and not-for-profit centre

Alberta auditor probing relationship between energy regulator and not-for-profit centre


Alberta’s auditor general could complete its probe of the relationship between Alberta’s energy regulator and ICORE — a not-for-profit institute it helped launch — before summer amid a lawsuit between the organizations.

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) was a founding member of the International Centre of Regulatory Excellence, or ICORE, which began in 2017 as an independent, not-for-profit institute where regulators from around the world could train and exchange best practices.

The AER said that year it would offer expertise in the form of in-kind services provided by its experts, with the new initiative touted by its then-chief executive, Jim Ellis, as “an institute built by regulators for regulators.” 

The Office of Alberta Auditor-General Doug Wylie is now looking at the relationship between ICORE and the AER.

A spokeswoman for the auditor-general told CBC News that “we are conducting some audit work related to the Alberta Energy Regulator and its relationship with ICORE.”

She said she was unable to share any specific details while the audit is underway, nor could she say when the probe will be completed and made public, though it’s anticipated it will be complete before summer.

Alberta Auditor General Doug Wylie is examining the relationship between the Alberta Energy Regulator and ICORE, a not-for-profit institute that the AER helped launch in 2017.

The job of the auditor general is to examine and report publicly on the government’s management of public resources.

The auditor general’s work comes amid a lawsuit launched by the AER against ICORE.

In a statement of claim, the AER says the regulator and ICORE signed a memorandum of understanding where the two sides agreed the AER may provide in-kind services to ICORE, for which it would be compensated.

The AER later granted ICORE an exclusive licence to deliver training courses to third parties.  

Now, the AER alleges that ICORE Energy Services owes it $2.6 million in reimbursement for the development and delivery of training materials. 

“Notwithstanding the AER’s demand for payment, ICORE has refused or neglected to pay any amount of the [Memorandum of Understanding]  Invoice or the Licence Agreement Invoice,” according to the lawsuit filed March 7 at the Court of Queen’s Bench in Calgary.

None of the allegations have been proven in court. A statement of defence had not been filed as of Wednesday.

A spokesman for the AER confirmed details of the lawsuit, but would not elaborate as the matter is before the courts.



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India is planning to achieve 50 GW of prodction from renewbale energy by 2028

India is planning to achieve 50 GW of prodction from renewbale energy by 2028


India is planning to achieve 50 gigawatt (GW) of production from renewable energy by 2028, in order to get to its goal of 40 per cent of electricity generation from non-fossil fuels by 2030, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy secretary, Anand Kumar said at the India-Norway Business Summit 2019 in New Delhi.

Of this 500 GW, 350 GW would come from solar, 140 GW wind, and the remaining generation capacity would come from small hydro and biomass power.

“This figure excludes large hydro. If we take large hydro into account the figure will grow to 560 GW to 575 GW. To reach this figure we have to bid out 30 GW of solar energy and 10 GW of wind energy every year,” Kumar said.

He added that India’s requirement for electricity generation capacity may reach 840 GW by 2030 if the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grows at a rate of 6.5 per cent.

“Out of 840 GW, we plan to install a little more than 500 GW in renewables. We have installed 75 GW renewable energy capacity in the country and another 46 GW is under various stages of installations,” added Kumar.

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Hydro One to pay American energy company $103M US after failed merger plan

Hydro One to pay American energy company $103M US after failed merger plan


Hydro One and Avista Corp. say they have agreed to cancel their merger after regulators in Washington state and Idaho shot down the deal. 

The energy companies say that after weighing their chances of  getting those decisions reversed, both their boards of directors decided it was best to call off the plan.

They say under the terms of the merger agreement, Hydro One must now pay Avista US $103 million in termination fees.

Earlier this month, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission denied a request from both companies to  reconsider its rejection of the Ontario utility’s planned takeover of the American company.

Ontario electricity customers won’t foot bill, minister says

The request was issued after regulators found that the $6.7-billion planned merger would not sufficiently safeguard Avista customers from the whims of the Ontario government, which is Hydro One’s largest shareholder.

The regulator has pointed to Premier Doug Ford’s efforts to force former Hydro One CEO Mayo Schmidt to retire —which was followed by the resignation of the utility’s entire board — as a sign that the province was willing to put political interests above those of shareholders.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission also denied the proposed takeover, finding that the companies had failed to demonstrate that the transaction met the public interest.

The merger required approvals from state regulatory commissions in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Alaska to go through, but only the latter two have approved it. Oregon’s public utility commission opted last week to put its decision on hold.

Ontario Energy Minister Greg Rickford said the Progressive Conservative government accepts the decision made by the two utilities, and will continue to focus on bringing down hydro rates for Ontarians.

“Any costs incurred as a result of today’s decision will not be paid by Ontario electricity customers,” Rickford said in a
statement.  



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