Mr. Speaker, the answer is as follows: a) The working group’s members are representatives from federal departments and agencies, including laboratories and regional development organizations, whose mandates address ocean or ocean energy whether from an R&D, commercial, policy or environmental perspective.
Members are: Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency, Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, Industry Canada, Natural Resources Canada, National Research Council (Canadian Hydraulics Centre and Institute for Oceans Technology), Western Economic Diversification.
b) There are currently 38 members on the FOEWG.
c) FOEWG has met five times since its inception in April 2005.
d) FOEWG is chaired by Natural Resources Canada, Office of Energy R&D. There is no funding per se attached to the FOEWG; the Working Group relies on in kind value through the time and efforts of its members.
e) FOEWG’s mandate is to assess through information gathering, the potential contribution of Canadian and international ocean energy technology to the Canadian renewable energy supply; and help create a policy advisory body and technological framework for Canadian renewable energy from oceans.
f) FOEWG does not have an official relationship with similar provincial organizations such as the B.C. Alternative Energy & Power Task Force. FOEWG’s relationships with the provinces have been through meetings and discussions with governmental representatives such as with Nova Scotia’s Departments of Natural Resources and Energy, New Brunswick’s Department of Energy, and British Columbia’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. This last April, FOEWG organized a meeting between its members and representatives from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to discuss potential collaboration on ocean energy projects; and to present the federal capabilities and interests in ocean energy, whether from a technical perspective or a regulatory and environmental one. FOEWG is planning a similar endeavour with British Columbia in the near future.
g) FOEWG is only comprised of federal representatives. However, FOEWG anticipates that through the above mentioned and forthcoming collaborative work, federal/provincial sub groups will be formed.
h) As mentioned above, FOEWG is not a funding program but has been instrumental in securing $250K for two studies in 2005 06 from the Technology and Innovation R&D funds: the first year of a three year resource assessment (last two years un funded as of yet), which would lead to an interactive web based ocean energy atlas similar to the Wind Atlas; and a multidimensional study that includes a technology review, a supply chain analysis and an environmental scan of both the regulatory framework for ocean energy projects and their environmental impacts.
i) FOEWG’ long term priorities and goals are to:
--Foster technological development and develop Canadian capacity
--Coordinate federal S&T efforts and interests in ocean energy
--Develop synergies and partnerships between federal departments and agencies, and with provincial governments
--Ensure that projects and initiatives are complementary to avoid duplications or overlaps
--Increase communication across departments and agencies, and serve as a tool to inform upper management of federal ocean energy activities.