This is the first issue of the Energy Regulation Quarterly. Readers may wonder why we need another energy journal. The answer is, simply, that this country does not have one, at least not one dedicated to energy regulation.

Lots of things are regulated in Canada – the environment, broadcasting, securities, zoning, taxicabs, lawyers, telephones and railways. Over the years energy regulation has climbed to the top of the pile.

There are energy regulators in every province as well as at the federal level. That’s because the business of energy production, transportation and distribution is growing in importance, not just in Canada, but throughout the world. And it’s a sector that is increasingly challenged by technological innovation, which as it happens is a dominant theme in many of the decisions reviewed in this first issue.

ERQ takes a unique approach. Each  issue will feature an article or articles by a leading commentator. In this first issue it is David J. Mullan, Emeritus Professor of Law at Queen’s University. David, who needs no introduction to the North American legal world, reviews 10 years of lectures he gave to energy regulators every summer at the CAMPUT energy regulation course hosted by his university.

Aside from bringing thought-provoking articles, each issue promises a series of case comments. Our goal here is to kick start a serious discussion on significant decisions by energy regulators. That rarely happens now.

This issue offers important  case  comments by Dr. Michal Moore of the University of Calgary, Glenn Zacher of Stikeman Elliott in Toronto, and Jeff Christian of Lawson Lundell in Vancouver, as well as a commentary on the recent National Energy Board TransCanada Mainline decision by Gordon Kaiser, and one on the Maritime Link decision of the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board by Rowland Harrison.

The TransCanada Mainline decision, like many of the case comments, highlights the challenges that new technology brings to energy regulators. The technology at the root of the issues in that case was the combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – which in less than a decade has managed to transform the gas supply market with economic recovery of massive reserves of gas from shale deposits across North America.

That new production has changed the picture on affordability of natural gas – and with it the industry and the regulatory landscape. TransCanada as the operator of the Mainline and many of its principal distribution company customers are facing significant challenges in adjusting to the new market environment. New regulatory solutions are required.

The other case comments noted above highlight some other areas where innovation in the use of technology is at issue – be it green energy technology,  electric  cars,  or   opportunities to bring natural gas into the transportation market. All provide serious challenges to regulators.

Technological innovation is not the only new development being faced by energy regulators. A sometimes related challenge is the changing energy  geography  of  North  America   and the need for new transmission – for liquid, gaseous and electric energy. Be it oil pipelines to western, eastern or southern (US) coasts to move supply to new markets, gas, LNG and pipelines in western, eastern and central regions to ensure the economic delivery of supply, or electric transmission between markets never before connected, the movement of energy is a more public concern than arguably at any time in our history.

This issue of ERQ examines some of these issues through the lens of the recent Nova Scotia decision on Maritime Link. The project is intended to provide  a  new  link for Newfoundland to the North American electricity market and to give Nova Scotia access to electricity from Labrador. Through a series of transactions, the power from Muskrat Falls on the Churchill River will move to mainland Newfoundland by the Labrador-Island Link, and then through the Maritime Link to Nova Scotia and on to New England. Rowland Harrison’s comment offers interesting insights on the decision.

Case comments by authors are important. But so are comments by the readers. Each issue of ERQ going forward will devote a section to those comments. We invite you to participate in this dialogue.

We hope ERQ will not become a Canadian backwater publication. To address the non- Canadian side, we have conscripted Robert Fleishman, a well-known commentator from Washington, to provide an American Report in each issue. And in the second issue we will introduce the first of what we hope will be regular European commentaries.

We realize Canada is not an island in terms of energy regulation. Energy is an international product. Most energy companies operate worldwide. And Canadian regulatory procedures often borrow from those developed abroad.

In a way, ERQ is the third leg of a long- crafted stool. Ten years ago, Canadian energy regulators together with utilities and the Energy Bar started two important educational initiatives. The first was the above-noted annual CAMPUT summer course. Each year for the past decade, regulators from across Canada have shown up for a weeklong session that has produced lively discussion and instruction. A number of those who lectured came year after year in a fine gesture of public service.

At the same time, the Energy Law Forum was created. It meets every May at locations across Canada. So far it has stopped at Kelowna BC, Lake Louise Alberta, St. Andrews by-the-Sea New Brunswick, Val David Quebec, Salt Spring Island BC, La Malbaie Quebec and Toronto, Ontario.

In both of those initiatives, speakers often delivered first-class papers. There was always a concern that none were published. With Professor Mullan’s piece here we demonstrate how the ERQ can provide a forum to remedy that shortcoming.

But ERQ’s real purpose is to provide timely public discussion on important regulatory decisions. And to that end, we have assembled a roster of contributors – leading practitioners, academics and other experts who will author the case comments and other articles. We appreciate their commitment. Some have contributed to this first issue, others have their names listed on the masthead and we look forward to their comments in subsequent issues.

We hope this publication will be self-sustaining, and we’re running it as a pilot project for 5 issues through to the end of 2014 to see if we can make it work. Like any new venture, angel investors were necessary for the launch. In our case, first recognition needs to go to the Canadian Gas Association – involved in conceiving the idea, serving as ERQ publisher, and our first funder. The   Canadian   Electricity   Association   has joined CGA in the effort, reflecting the balance between electricity and gas in the downstream regulated energy business. In addition, a series of distinguished law firms (are being engaged). To all of these we extend our sincere thanks: without their support this important initiative would not have been realized.

Finally, there is one individual to whom we are continually indebted. Mike Cleland  was for many years President of the  Canadian Gas Association. In that position he was instrumental in directing and initiating a number of important programs that increased the degree of policy literacy in the energy community. Following his retirement, Mike was instrumental in founding this publication. Without his guidance and commitment ERQ would not have come into being.

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