Making Sense of Energy

Energy Market Update: January 2018


Alberta urged to require licensed land agents as wind and solar boom takes off

As Alberta readies itself for a renewable energy boom that’ll soon see dozens of wind and solar projects added to the landscape, there are calls for the province to require renewable-energy companies to use licensed land agents — “landmen” — in their dealings with farmers and landowners. The government has pledged to have 30 per cent of Alberta’s electricity demand met with non-greenhouse gas emitting renewable energy by 2030. The most recent data on renewable generation in Alberta shows it at 9.9 per cent. The goal is expected to result in significant renewable infrastructure development, producing a wave of negotiations between landowners and renewables companies. But negotiating for a wind or solar lease is different from negotiating with the oil and gas sector. Source: CBC News

Electricity Prices for Alberta

The Alberta power pool price averaged 4.083 cents per kWh in January 2018. This price is 1.884 cents higher than last month’s average of 2.199 cents per kWh. The pool price has averaged 2.357 cents per kWh over the last 12 months.

As of January 9, 2018, the forward market was predicting electricity prices for the calendar years of 2018, 2019 and 2020. These prices are 5.560, 5.500, and 4.750 cents per kWh respectively.

Gas Prices for Alberta

Direct Energy’s gas rate for January 2018 was $1.911 per GJ in Alberta. The February 2018 rate has been set at $2.328 per GJ. Alberta gas prices have averaged $1.914 per GJ over the last 12 months.

As of January 2, 2018, the forward market was predicting gas prices for the calendar years of 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. These prices are 1.68, 1.83, 1.95, 2.20, and 2.33 cents per GJ respectively.


British Columbia 

‘No province can impinge on the national interest,’ Jim Carr says as Alberta-B.C. pipeline feud simmers

British Columbia will not be allowed to stand in the way of the completion of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, a project that Ottawa believes is in the national interest, the federal natural resources minister said Thursday in Calgary. The B.C. government said it is considering restricting any increase in diluted bitumen shipments from Alberta to B.C. until it conducts more spill response studies. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley denounced B.C.’s proposed new restrictions as unconstitutional. The $7.4-billion pipeline expansion project was approved by the federal government in 2016. Source: CBC News



Citizens sue province over proposed wind turbine parks

Citizens living near five proposed wind turbine parks in Ontario have launched a lawsuit alleging the provincial government is allowing the companies behind the projects to defy safe noise limits. The province approved the wind park projects in 2016. They are scattered around rural Ontario, and two are within an hour’s drive from Ottawa. The projects are now going through a “technical review” as part of the final approval process by the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. In 2016, the Ontario government also introduced new and more accurate standards for how companies model the noise impact of turbines before they’re built. The lawsuit, however, alleges the proponents behind the five projects have been using old modelling standards. Source: CBC News

Electricity Prices for Ontario

The Hourly Ontario Energy Price (HOEP) was an average of 3.032 cents per kWh in January 2018. This price is 1.1 cents higher than last month’s 1.932 cents per kWh. The twelve month moving average was 1.499 cents per kWh up to January 2018.

The Actual Rate for the Global Adjustment rate Class B for January 2018 was set at 6.736 cents per kWh. The Global Adjustment is an additional charge paid by non-regulated customers. (Source: IESO)



Provincial government approves lower-than-requested SaskPower rate increase of 3.5%

The new rate, which translates to about $4 per month for a typical residential customer, was approved by the Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel and becomes effective March 1. The third hike in two years, it is lower than the 5.1 per cent SaskPower originally requested. According to a government news release, SaskPower in its rate application said it would invest the extra cash in “major maintenance and growth projects,” power grid modernization and efforts to cut emissions by 40 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. Source: Saskatoon Star Phoenix



Few details on Manitoba’s plans for a new energy efficiency Crown agency

The Manitoba government says a new Crown corporation aimed at promoting energy efficiency will be up and running later this year. But there is still no word on what it will cost taxpayers, how many people it will employ and what kind of rebates it will offer consumers. The government passed a law last spring to set up a Crown corporation called Efficiency Manitoba, which will take over energy-efficiency programs from Manitoba Hydro. Crown Services Minister Cliff Cullen says details of the corporation, including its board of directors and funding, will be worked out in the coming months. Source: CBC News


New Brunswick 

Natural gas customers hit with price increase

The jump to $11.20 per gigajoule for gas is the highest price charged by Enbridge in New Brunswick in 27 months and will raise the total cost of bills to about 6,900 homeowners who buy their natural gas from Enbridge by 12 per cent. Natural gas prices in New Brunswick after the latest increase are now four times higher than in other jurisdictions, like Toronto, where Enbridge sells the fuel for $2.71 per gigajoule. Approximately 1,600 commercial and institutional customers will also be affected. Nearly 70 per cent of all natural gas customers on Enbridge’s distribution system in New Brunswick buy their fuel from the company. In January, customers who buy gas from other suppliers, such as Irving Energy and Park Fuels, were also hit with significant price increases. Source: CBC News


Prince Edward Island 

How a P.E.I. company plans to cut its electric bill in half

A P.E.I. company is taking what it has learned about green energy on ships and applying it on land. Aspin Kemp & Associates is testing a new micro-grid system at its facilities in Poole’s Corner. It uses an array of solar panels and battery storage to generate electricity. There are currently 60 panels, but there will be 610 panels in total later this spring. It’s estimated the solar energy could cut the company’s electricity costs in half. Aspin Kemp has made a name for itself globally by improving the energy efficiency of engines on large ships. Source: CBC News



Hydro-Québec wins major Massachusetts energy contract

Hydro-Québec won the biggest energy deal in its history Thursday as authorities in Massachusetts approved its proposed Northern Pass Transmission project. The 20-year deal will generate millions in revenue for the public utility, although the exact financial details of the project have yet to be finalized. This is a joint project between the public utility and Eversource, a New England energy provider. The deal will help bring “clean, affordable power” to New England, said Eversource executive vice president Lee Olivier. It will be a major boost for Hydro-Québec as the utility works to double its revenue by 2030. Source: CBC News

(Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Newfoundland and Labrador 

Power-hungry Labrador needs $20M upgrade to transmission lines, NL Hydro says

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro wants to spend $20 million to increase capacity in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and surrounding towns, where the power utility and the local MHA say demand is surging. According to documents submitted to the PUB, NL Hydro’s electrical system in the Upper Lake Melville area is designed to support loads up to 77 megawatts, but peak demand in 2017 was 79.8 megawatts. Demand that is higher than capacity leads to power outages, the application says. The utility’s proposal would see capacity increase to 104 megawatts — enough to supply the 5 Wing Canadian Armed Forces facility and other emerging customers with requested increases. The plan is called Muskrat Falls to Happy Valley Interconnection, but in her email, Squires stressed that customers would continue to receive electricity generated in Churchill Falls, which is significantly cheaper than forecasted rates for Muskrat Falls. Source: CBC News


Nova Scotia 

Nova Scotia issues call for tidal energy demonstration projects

Credit: Big Moon Power

The province is looking for companies to test their renewable energy systems in the Bay of Fundy and the Bras d’Or Lakes. The program will allow for a total of up to 10 megawatts of energy generated from the two sites. Jamie MacNeil is a manager with Big Moon. He said tidal energy is better than other forms of renewable energy such as wind and solar because it’s more predictable. The provincial energy department said it will probably take two to five years to use up the 10 MW of total energy available under this program, and approvals will happen in 30 to 90 days. Source: CBC News



Nunavut’s Qulliq Energy Corp. proposes 7.6% power rate increase

The Crown corporation is asking for an average rate increase of 7.6 per cent across the territory over the next two years. The application proposes another change — Qulliq wants to harmonize power rates across the territory. Right now, different communities pay different rates — Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet, two of Nunavut’s largest communities, have the lowest electricity rates, while small communities such as Kugaaruk and Kimmirut pay the highest rates. If Qulliq’s plan is approved, it could lead to higher increases in larger communities, while those in smaller communities could see their rates decrease. The corporation proposes a gradual transition to harmonized rates over a period of six years. Source: CBC News


Northwest Territories 

Ecology North asks City of Yellowknife to reduce plastic bottle use

Ecology North has sent the City of Yellowknife a letter asking them to sign a pledge called #loveNWTwater, which would signify that the city is committed to reducing the use of plastic single-use water bottles. In the letter to Mayor Mark Heyck, Ecology North said that in 2014 residents of the N.W.T. used more than 1.3 million plastic bottles. The environmental group is asking the city to commit to removing the bottles from city facilities, stop supplying the bottles at special events, promote tap water, and bring in more public water fountains. The City of Yellowknife has already started reducing its use of single-use water bottles by using compostable cups at city events. Source: CBC News