09/10/2012 05:49 EDT | Updated 11/10/2012 05:12 EST

Regional co-operation focus of energy meeting

Federal ministers met with provincial energy ministers from across Atlantic Canada in Charlottetown Monday to discuss the results of studies undertaken under the Atlantic Energy Gateway initiative.

The AEG initiative is aimed at enabling co-operation between the government and utilities to find a better approach to lower energy costs within Atlantic Canada and to export power to the U.S.

Bernard Valcourt, Associate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State for ACOA, and Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver were on hand Monday.

Valcourt said co-operation between both the federal and provincial governments, as well as utilities, is key.

“The Atlantic Energy Gateway initiative has brought the critical players in the region’s energy sector together to not only work toward an affordable, secure, clean energy future, but to also maximize the business and job growth potential of further developing our region’s clean and renewable energy industries,” said Valcourt in a release.

The eight studies identified significant potential benefits from regional collaboration including, "development and operating cost efficiencies, greater diversity in clean and renewable energy supplies, enhanced stability for ratepayers and lower greenhouse gas emissions for the region," according to the report.

One of the projects discussed was the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Newfoundland.

“Partnerships like the one formed for the Atlantic Energy Gateway support a collaborative approach to embrace opportunities for a stronger energy future for the region,” said Jerome Kennedy, Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Natural Resources.

“The development of Muskrat Falls is a great example of regional co-operation and would support a strong economic and environmentally sustainable resource for our province, and provide opportunities for the entire region.”

The AEG was announced in March 2009 with the objective of enhancing regional co-operation in the development of energy resources within the Atlantic region.

Involved in the AEG initiative is ACOA, Natural Resources Canada, the Atlantic provinces, regional power utilities and electricity system operators. The meeting began Sunday and runs through Wednesday.