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Ottawa flexible on clean-energy rules, despite Alberta concerns: Wilkinson


Energy Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says the federal government is open to extending the deadline for existing natural gas plants to operate without emissions-trapping technology.

He says that negotiation was underway before Alberta Premier Danielle Smith moved yesterday to invoke her new Sovereignty Act, which she says allows the province to opt out of the proposed clean-electricity regulations.

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault says the act is a symbolic political gesture with no basis in law or Canada’s Constitution.

And Wilkinson says he is baffled by the whole thing, because Ottawa has made clear that it understands province’s concerns about how some newer gas plants might end up as stranded assets if the regulations aren’t adjusted.

The draft regulations were tabled in the summer and require any power plant that creates greenhouse-gas emissions to either close or install emissions abatement by 2035.

But gas plants that are built and begin operating before 2025 can run without abatement for 20 years from their opening date, and Wilkinson says the government is looking at extending that period to address provincial concerns.