The Canadian Electricity Association, which has been around for 113 years and represents the producers of 95% of Canada’s power output as well as the national distribution system, has published a report recommending that the USA and Canada co-operate in the building of new transmission capacity to reduce the likelihood of more extreme blackouts like the 14 August event. It also recommends that the two countries work together on measures to protect critical sections of the infrastructure. There should, it says, be an international organisation engaged to enforce mandatory reliability standards in the common grid. Ageing infrastructures, lack of new build of generation and transmission to meet demand, and growing regulatory pressures have placed a significant stress on grid reliability.

The main platform for these suggestions is the existence of the combined market and the strong transmission links between the USA and Canada, which the paper suggests lead to the conclusion that any measures for improvement should involve both nations.

CEA president and CEO Hans Konow expressed it as follows. “The reliability of the electricity system is a fundamental international concern and cannot be properly addressed without the full engagement and co-operation of both Canada and the United States. Anything less could impede future cross-border trade and, more significantly, undermine the very reliability we all seek to guarantee.”

In its paper The Integrated North American Electricity Market – A Bi-National Model for Securing a Reliable Supply of Electricity, CEA proposes seven specific measures for the consideration of all stakeholders:

In all the paper (The integrated North American electricity market – a bi-national model for securing a reliable supply of electricity) makes seven recommendations, most of them in response to the 14 August blackout.

1. Support an open debate on all the supply options available to meet the growing demand for electricity.

2. Encourage bi-national co-operation on the construction fo new transmission capacity to ensure a reliable continental electricity system.

3. Explore opportunities for bi-national co-operation for both investment in advanced transmission technologies and transmission R & D.

4. Promote new generation technology and demand side measures to relieve existing transmission constraints and reduce the need for new transmission facilities.

5. Endorse a self governing international organisation for developing and enforcing mandatory reliability standards for the evolving electricity industry.

6. Co-ordinate measures to promote critical infrastructure protection.

7. Harmonise the US and Canadian efforts to streamline or clarify regulation of electricity markets.