Making Sense of Energy

Alberta Reaches All-Time High Electricity Demand Due to Cold Weather

cold weather alberta
Photo from CTV Edmonton

It has been very cold outside since 2015 arrived last week. Extreme cold warnings were issued throughout the province and most of us stayed huddled indoors waiting for the wind chills to blow out of town. During this time, it’s essential that everyone stays warm. If you don’t have a heating system indoors, Green Horizon One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning will be happy to help install one; these winter days are too cold to be huddling indoors with no form of heat.

This cold winter weather pushed electricity demand in Alberta to a new all-time record on Monday, according to the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) The Edmonton Journal reported on the organization’s findings.

“Average demand for the period from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. was 11,169 megawatts, eclipsing by 0.3 per cent the previous record of 11,139 MW set Dec. 2, 2013.”

Temperatures have slowly been on the rise, reaching a balmy -18 degrees on Tuesday evening. Mid-week temperatures promise to return to their seasonal highs of -8, however blasting winds will make the outdoor air feel more like -20 degrees Celcius. On Monday the temperature lows, not including windchill, reached -21.9 C in Edmonton, -20.1 C in Calgary, -31.6 C in Grande Prairie, -25.9 C in Fort McMurray and -21.0 C in Medicine Hat.

The extreme cold temperature warnings remained into effect in the northern communities of Bonnyville, Peace River and Fort McMurray into Monday evening. More people used electricity to keep warm, factoring into Monday’s high demand peak. Demand for furnace repair often peaks around this time of year. For that reason, you should go to Buric Heating and Air Conditioning urgently if you are experiencing any issues with your furnace.

According to a spokesperson for AESO, other factors included Christmas lights, household appliances and more people using electricity in offices and workplaces after the long holiday break.

Edmonton has been rapidly expanding, welcoming an average of 30,000 new residents per year to its city limits. The expanding energy sector in other areas of the province has seen similar increases. This swell in the population means a swell in energy use. The Edmonton Journal article stated that AESO said Alberta was on track for a 3.5 percent increase in electricity demand last year.

It takes energy to keep warm in the winter and energy to keep cool in the summer. We are remembering the peak demand that occurred in July last summer. Alberta set a new summer demand record at 10, 419. Read about that in this blog post “Hot Temperatures Result in All-Time High Electricity Demand in Edmonton

Makes you miss summer, doesn’t it?