Making Sense of Energy

Energy Market Update – August 2014

albertaAlberta

Edmonton skyline to set to make new records with the announcement of a 62 storey skyscraper near the new downtown arena. It will be home for Stantec Engineering and Consulting group as well as the city’s tallest building. Location of the tower will be top of the empty parking lots on 102nd street and 103rd Avenue. The skyscraper is planned to be 227 metres, which is 78 metres higher than the next closest thing, Epcor Tower at 149 metres. However, the 236 metre Bow in Calgary will keep its name as the tallest building in Western Canada and in a couple years from now, the completion of Calgary’s Brookfield place aimed at 247 metres will take over that title. However, Edmonton Mayor still seem ecstatic about the new site. “I’m a tall guy, but I’m intimidated by this” joked Don Iverson. He also went on to say “this is going to be a signature building. It’s going got add an awful lot of activity on the street and it’s going to change the skyline of Edmonton forever”.

Stantec’s new $500-million skyscraper will mark one of Canada’s tallest building upon its completion in 2018. This 62 stories building will be behind five Toronto and two Calgary towers. As much as this gives Edmonton the status of having a skyscraper, it will more likely act as a symbol of an end to two fierce and often ugly civic battles. First was the question of whether or not to close the city center airport followed by the idea of a downtown hockey arena. Both had involved folks with strong opinions. In the end, a decision was made that addressed both of the situations. The height of the new tower made it possible to close the airport while the arena and Stantec location will transform its old blighted area of parking lots and empty lots. Also, the tax revenues provided from the Stantec building will help pay off the debt borrowed to fund the arena. To be exact, the tower will provide $4 million to $5million in taxes a year while the city only need to generate $6 million a year to pay off the arena debt. So, from civic battles to making sense of the numbers, the Stantec is becoming a remarkable Edmonton success story, a building that marks the heart of downtown. For one, it will have a massive lighting system that will accommodate to the important days throughout the year. It will shine copper and blue when the Oilers are playing, green for the Eskimos, and red for Canada day. According to chief executive of Stantec, Beacon is the key word in describing the building. A beacon of Edmonton’s growth, of old fights ending, of new found unity and of a better future.

ATCO has launched a combined heat and power (CHP) program to help building owners reduce costs and greenhouse gases (GHG). For buildings that qualify, one third of the costs will be funded by the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corp, which supports projects that reduce GHG. By launching this program, it is estimated GHG emission can be reduced by 25,000 tones by 2020. So far, work is underway at the Red Deer leisure center and a Calgary senior’s condo. Once more and more buildings become aware of this program, it would drive costs down which can translate into more GHG saved per year. This is how this program is environmentally friendly, combined gas and power is another term for cogeneration, what it does is it uses natural gas as a primary fuel source to generate heat and electricity simultaneously. Producing electricity on-site and waste-heat recovery increases energy efficiency. To get an idea, the site in Red Deer will save $35,000 per year and reduce GHG by 800 tones per year while the Calgary condo site will save $28,000 per year and reduce GHG by 385 tonnes per year.

Electricity Prices for Alberta

The Alberta power pool price averaged 7.088 cents per kWh in August 2014. This price is 5.166 cents lower than last month’s average of 12.254 cents per kWh. The pool price has averaged 6.356 cents per kWh over the last 12 months.

As of September 1, 2014, the forward market was predicting electricity prices for the calendar years of 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. These prices are 5.45, 4.875, 4.95, 5.20 and 5.625 cents per kWh respectively.

Gas Prices for Alberta

Direct Energy’s gas rate for August was $3.563 per GJ in the North and $3.749 per GJ in the South. The September rate has been set at $3.780 per GJ in the North and $3.780 per GJ in the South. Alberta gas prices have averaged $4.215 per GJ over the last 12 months.

As of September 8th, 2014, the forward market was predicting gas prices for the calendar years of 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. These prices are 3.89, 3.74, 3.79, 3.85, and 3.96 cents per GJ respectively.

bcBritish Columbia

B.C Hydro is now offering their customers the option to view their usage before their bill arrives. They will provide real time information about power use with the intention to show their customers how much power different devices use. Simi Heer with BC hydro explains how this device compares with usage information accessible online. “This device provides information in real-time, so you are able to see what the impact of doing laundry is on your energy bill or what happens when you turn on your lights”. Source (Global News)

B.C hydro continues to deny defects regarding their smart meters. According to Coalition to Stop Smart Meters, 26 fires happened either during or within the three months after installation of meters since August 2011. However, Greg Alexis with BC hydro states that those fires were not related to faulty smart meters. He went on to say “research by the University of the Fraser Valley shows that there actually have been fewer residential structure fires associated with electricity in the province since BC Hydro started installing smart meters in 2011”. He also said that BC Hydro’s smart meters are made from different companies. They have installed 1.9 million meters over 3 years and they have all proven safe track records. Source (News1130)

ontarioOntario

An opportunity exists for residents of Ontario in which they get paid to generate power. The province has offered this two times before and now this third time, we see a significant drop in the proposed offer. The first time it was 80.2 cents per Kw, then 54.9 cents per Kw and now finally 39.6 per Kw. However, this is a promise to pay over a 20 year period with stable income and generating renewable energy at the same time. How does it work? First, the home needs to be eligible for this program, then the government installs a solar panel at your home that produces 10 kw or less a day, and finally you get paid for 20 years for this continuous project. Ontario is known for receiving the most amount of sun light, followed by Germany and Japan, and its capturing this opportunity that can benefit everyone. A study shows a solar PV system produces as much electricity annually as burning 2,300 kilograms of coal. Participating in this program not only puts money in the pockets of the consumers but also saves the planet.

Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne identifies the possibility to buy more energy from neighboring province Quebec. The issue comes from the growing number of business disappearing due to high hydro rates. Wynne said the liberals need to examine the issue and any changes would have to be a good deal for Ontario. That comes as a standard when it comes to buying electricity from Quebec. Last year, Ontario purchased 4.2 terawatt hours which was 85 percent of all electricity imports, all of which were purchased at the same or lower rate than domestic generations. In addition to Quebec, Ontario also has connections with Manitoba, Minnesota, Michigan and New York State to add power to its grid.

Electricity Prices for Ontario

The weighted-average Hourly Ontario Energy Price (HOEP) was 2.211 cents per kWh in August 2014. This price is cents 0.16 lower than last month’s 2.371 cents per kWh. The weighted-average price has averaged 3.72 cents per kWh over the last 12 months.

The Global Adjustment rate for August was set at 6.11 cents per kWh. This rate was 5.98 cents in July. The Global Adjustment is an additional charge paid by non-regulated customers. (Source: IESO)

saskSaskatchewan

SaskPower has reached an agreement with Sensus, a company that supplied the faulty smart meters. SaskPower were able to recover $47 million of the total cost associated with the meters. Sensus will pay out $24 million cash refund, $18 million credit for future product purchases and they will put $5 million in to research and development to find a meter that meets all of SaskPower specified requirements. The meters will also have to pass Underwriters Laboratories standards and pass safety verification by an independent third party to ensure safety. It is clear SaskPower still believe in a smart meter grid. As stated by CEO Robert Watson “A smart grid will bring significant benefits to our customers, including faster restoration of service following an outrage, reduced carbon emissions, and more timely and accurate billing”. But as for now, they will keep removing all meters until the replacement is ready.

SaskPower warns customers about a possible HOAX email. The subject in the email reads “Download Your Monthly e-statement Report”. According to the crown corporation, once the attachment is downloaded, it can spread viruses on to your computer. SaskPower says they never email financial information and that the only time they send out an email notification to let online customers know their bills are ready.

manitobaManitoba

An underground electrical fire cut power to almost 1,400 customers in downtown Winnipeg on Saturday. According to Manitoba Hydro, this unfortunate event is nothing to worry and they are investigating more in to it. The fire itself blew up and caused a manhole to blow up causing the streets to close. However, power was quickly restored by using another set of lines that ran underground in the area. No was seriously injured during this event but four people were taken to the hospital for possible carbon monoxide inhalation.