Making Sense of Energy

Energy Market Update: December 2018


TransCanada changing its name to TC Energy to underline it’s not just about Canada

TransCanada Corp. is taking the Canada out of its name. The Calgary-based firm that was created in 1951 as TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. to bring natural gas to Eastern Canada from Alberta, will change its name to TC Energy in the second quarter. The TRP ticker symbol used on the Toronto and New Stock Exchanges will remain. “The name TC Energy clearly articulates our complete business — pipelines, power generation and energy storage operations — and reflects our continued continental growth into an enterprise with critical assets and employees in Canada, the United States and Mexico,” Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling said in a statement. Source: Vancouver Sun

Electricity Prices for Alberta

The Alberta power pool price averaged 4.399 cents per kWh in December 2018. This price is 1.526 cents lower than last month’s average of 5.925 cents per kWh. The pool price has averaged 5.019 cents per kWh over the last 12 months.

As of December 3, 2018, the forward market was predicting electricity prices for the calendar years of 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. These prices are 5.550, 4.825, 4.838, 4.550, and 4.350 cents per kWh respectively.

Gas Prices for Alberta

Direct Energy’s gas rate for December 2018 was $2.004 per GJ in Alberta. The January 2019 rate has been set at $1.515 per GJ. Alberta gas prices have averaged $1.594 per GJ over the last 12 months.

As of December 19, 2018, the forward market was predicting gas prices for the calendar years of 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. These prices are 1.35, 1.53, 1.72, 1.9, 2.18, and 2.3 cents per GJ respectively.


British Columbia 

B.C. cities join global movement asking oil companies for climate change costs

Victoria was one of the first municipalities in British Columbia to pen a letter to oil and gas companies last year asking them to chip in to cover growing bills in proportion to their emissions. It is joining local governments around the world in seeking some relief. West Coast Environmental Law, which has driven the campaign in B.C., says 16 local councils have voted to write letters to fossil fuel companies. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers declined comment, saying that since the letters are sent directly to companies, it considers the issue “company specific.” The campaign has largely flown under the radar until recently when the resort town of Whistler in B.C. drew the ire of Alberta for sending one of the letters to Calgary-based oilsands giant Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. Source: Vancouver Sun



Windsor-Essex greenhouses will need more power than currently available

The growing greenhouse sector in Windsor-Essex is demanding lots of power, which is expected to exceed the capacity of the current transmission system, according to a report by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). Most of the load growth is due to greenhouses, with around 80 per cent being vegetable growers and the rest used for cannabis growing.The Reliability Outlook, an assessment of the provincial electricity system from January 2019 to December 2023, takes a look at Ontario’s demand forecast. A short to mid-term solution for growers is combining heat and power solutions for on-site generation. Source: CBC News


Electricity Prices for Ontario

The Hourly Ontario Energy Price (HOEP) was an average of 2.660 cents per kWh in December 2018. This price is 0.298 cents higher than last month’s 2.362 cents per kWh. The twelve month moving average was 2.242 cents per kWh up to December 2018.

The Actual Rate for the Global Adjustment rate Class B for December 2018 was set at 7.404 cents per kWh. The Global Adjustment is an additional charge paid by non-regulated customers. (Source: IESO)



Wind power making gains as competitive source of electricity

It’s taken a decade of technological improvement and a new competitive bidding process for electrical generation contracts, but wind may have finally come into its own as one of the cheapest ways to create power. Now some wind companies say they’ve brought generation costs down to between 2 and 4 cents — something that appeals to provinces that are looking to significantly increase their renewable energy. In Saskatchewan, the plan is to double its capacity of renewable electricity, to 50 per cent of generation capacity, by 2030, and it uses an open bidding system between the private sector generator and publicly owned SaskPower. In bidding last year on a renewable contract, 15 firms submitted bids, with an average price of 4.2 cents per kWh. One low bidder was Potentia with a proposal for a 200 MW project, which should provide electricity for 90,000 homes in the province, at less than 3 cents kWh, according to Robert Hornung of the Canadian Wind Energy Association. Source: CBC News



Manitoba Hydro sees massive spike in fraud related complaints in 2018

Manitoba Hydro is warning customers to be cautious after the number of fraud-related complaints it receives nearly quadrupled in one year. Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31 of 2018, there were complaints of 862 phone, text and e-mail scams, up from 221 during the same period of 2017. Hydro says the increase included a frequent service disconnection scam targeting small businesses, where a caller claimed Hydro would cut off the business’s electricity unless an immediate payment was made through a prepaid card. Hydro spokesperson Bruce Owen said the data reflects a surge in both scam reporting and the number of scams that take place. Source: Winnipeg Sun


New Brunswick 

NB Power requests higher-than-expected rate increases

NB Power is requesting a higher-than-expected rate increase this year, adding an average of $5 a month to New Brunswick household bills. Citing increased fuel prices, the utility requested an average 2.5 per cent increase in power rates for all its classes, the highest being a 2.9 per cent increase for residential customers. Heather Black, public intervenor for the energy sector, said NB Power is expected to go through a rate approval process every year, but this year’s proposed rate increase was “surprising.” NB Power’s 10-year plan predicted the average rate increase to be two per cent, Black said. Source: CBC News


Prince Edward Island

Charlottetown hopes federal infrastructure funds can help expand use of solar power and biogas

The City of Charlottetown hopes federal infrastructure funding programs will help make the city a little greener. Officials with Charlottetown’s water and sewer utility want to expand the use of solar panels at its well fields and create a combined heat and power system using biogas emitted from its waste water treatment plant. The city recently installed solar panels at its new well field in Miltonvale Park. The panels can provide about one third of the electricity needed to pump water from the field. MacEwen said by adding more solar panels, total electricity costs go down. The city hopes to install more solar panels at the Miltonvale Park and Winter River well fields. Source: CBC News



Maxime Bernier challenges Quebec political orthodoxy with new party – Wants equalization less generous

When Maxime Bernier, leader of the nascent People’s Party of Canada, recently appeared on a Quebec TV news panel, the pundits laughed at his suggestion that Ottawa could force an oil pipeline through the province. The host barely contained a smirk as he accused Bernier of wanting to shove a pipeline “down the throats” of Quebecers. “At the end of the day,” Bernier replied, “the federal government has the right to approve a project or not.” No other leader — federal or provincial — with ambitions in Quebec would dare say something like that in public, but for Bernier the comments perfectly captured his big gamble. He is betting there are enough alienated voters in his home province and across the country fed up with status-quo politicians. Source:


Newfoundland and Labrador 

Newfoundland and Labrador power solution includes exports, electrification, experts

Consultant says N.L. Power could also take over retail at N.L. Hydro Everyone in Newfoundland and Labrador will be affected by the results of the ongoing review of power rates by the Public Utilities Board (PUB), at the demand of the Liberal government. The PUB has released two interim reports submitted from the experts it hired to help: Liberty Consulting Group and Synapse Energy Economics. Nalcor Energy will be required to file a response to the interim reports by Jan. 11. But any member of the public can also offer comments to the PUB. The deadline is Friday, Jan. 18. Source: The Western Star


Nova Scotia 

Benefits of Sable Will Flow to Nova Scotians

An op-ed from Energy and Mines Minister Derek Mombourquette said: A few days ago, one chapter of Nova Scotia’s offshore story came to an end when the Sable Offshore Energy Project delivered the last of its gas to our province. While production has ended, the legacy and benefits Sable brought to Nova Scotians will last for many years to come. Over 20 years, our province received nearly $4 billion in payments as a result of Sable. On top of that, the companies that own Sable spent billions more on goods and services in Nova Scotia, creating new capabilities our businesses now export. Source: Government of Nova Scotia



Qulliq Energy Corp. wants a new $13 M headquarters in Baker Lake

Nunavut’s Qulliq Energy Corporation has applied to the territorial government for approval to build a new $13-million headquarters for staff in Baker Lake. The new building would replace three that Qulliq Energy currently leases in Baker Lake, and bring the 45 staff members working there together under one roof. Qulliq Energy Corporation is the sole power utility in Nunavut, and is owned by the territorial government. Since the project costs more than $5 million, it needs ministerial approval before it can go ahead. If approved, it would likely add an extra 0.35 cents per kilowatt hour to power bills for customers throughout the territory beginning in 2021/22. But ultimately, owning the building will lead to savings for ratepayers in the long run, since it will cost less to buy than to lease the buildings. Source: CBC News

This renovated three-bedroom house is one of the Qulliq Energy Corporation’s offices in Baker Lake. (Qulliq Energy Corporation)

Northwest Territories 

If you build it, will they come? N.W.T. gov’t hopes hydro expansion will attract investment

A major expansion of the Taltson hydroelectric system will remain the stuff of dreams unless there is a power-hungry mining industry in the territory’s future. On Monday night, representatives from the territorial government and the Northwest Territories Power Corporation made a case for connecting the Taltson dam — which is located in the territory’s South Slave region — to Yellowknife and the diamond mines. Ultimately, the goal would be to also connect to the North American power grid. Source: CBC News



First Nation says Yukon Energy isn’t honouring agreement to collaborate on dam licence

Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) are accusing Yukon Energy of failing to honour a 2016 agreement to work together on the relicensing of the Aishihik hydroelectric dam. The water licence for the 37 MW facility, near Haines Junction, expires at the end of 2019. At a press conference on Monday, Rose Kushniruk, the First Nation’s deputy chief, said construction of the dam in the 1970s caused significant disruption to their traditional way of life, and left lasting impacts on fish and wildlife. “This agreement was, we believed, to recognize past challenges our First Nations faced with Yukon Energy: the long-term impacts of the dam on our people and traditional territory,” she said. “[It] would enable us to develop a joint proposal that would be acceptable to both parties.” Source: CBC News