Making Sense of Energy

Energy Market Update: May 2016

alberta Alberta

In the past few months Alberta has seen the highest use of wind energy, with a record 22 per cent of the provinces power generation coming from wind power on April 9, at 1 a.m. Additionally, on May 8, 2016 at 8 a.m. Alberta saw the lowest use of coal with coal making up only 34 per cent of the province’s energy generation. However, these records are still not the norm as coal continuously provides a significant portion of energy in the province. Angela Anderson, a spokesperson for AESO, explains that the province will see a shift in its energy generation as coal plants being to phase out as of 2009 as part of the province’s plan to address environment issues but that renewable energy will not be able to fully replace coal energy. Therefore, natural gas plants are coming online to fulfill that demand and fill that gap. David Dodge, producer of multimedia research and storytelling project Green Energy Futures, believes that Alberta’s goal to reach 30 per cent reliance on renewable energy by 2030 is realistic and that even eventually reaching 50% is “totally doable”. (Source: The Metro News)


Electricity Prices for Alberta

The Alberta power pool price averaged 1.589 cents per kWh in May 2016. This price is 0.226 cents higher than last month’s average of 1.363 cents per kWh. The pool price has averaged 2.690 cents per kWh over the last 12 months.

As of May 4, 2016, the forward market was predicting electricity prices for the calendar years of 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. These prices are 3.2, 3.5, 4.625, 5.225, and 5.5 cents per kWh respectively.

Gas Prices for Alberta

Direct Energy’s gas rate for May was $0.795 per GJ in the North and $0.795 per GJ in the South. The April rate has been set at $0.862 per GJ in the North and $0.862 per GJ in the South. Alberta gas prices have averaged $2.440 per GJ over the last 12 months.

As of April 1, 2016, the forward market was predicting gas prices for the calendar years of 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. These prices are 1.88, 2.62, 2.83, 2.97, and 3.12 cents per GJ respectively.


bc British Columbia

Lelu Island, near Port Edward, B.C. Site for proposed $11-billion Pacific Northwest LNG plant. Photo: Financial Post

Amidst plans for a proposed liquefied natural gas project in northwestern British Colombia, ninety academics from around the world are calling on the Canadian government to reject the project as they consider it to be “one of the country’s largest greenhouse gas emitters” that would ultimately “undermine Canada’s climate change commitments”.

These scientists, hailing from Canada, the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom, have sent an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and the Environmental Assessment Agency arguing that a draft environmental assessment underestimates the amount of emissions that would be released. Danny Harvey, a climate change scientist at the University of Toronto and one of the scientists who signed the letter, believes that the assessment is “superficial and incomplete”.

Harvey is not only against this LNG project but all other LNG projects as well as he believes it is reckless to proceed before it is known what the long term consequences are. The B.C, government, on the other hand, wants to push forward with the project as it will create more than 18,000 jobs and produce billions in revenue ultimately, fuelling their economy. A decision by the cabinet on the environmental assessment of the project is expected to be made by late June according to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna. (Source: The Financial Post)


ontario Ontario

Energy, Light Bulb, Efficiency.Environmental Commissioner, Dianne Saxe, has said that Ontario’s energy conservation strategy is “lopsided”. Ontario has invested heavily in the conservation of electricity, despite it only making up 20 per cent of the province’s energy consumption and being their cleanest energy source. Transportation fuel makes up 73 per cent of the province’s energy but the province is only investing a fraction of what they are investing for electricity in conservation. Although electricity consumption has lowered since 2007 by 6 per cent, their usage of fossil fuels has in fact increased over the years. Saxe recommends that Ontario set formal targets for reducing their fossil fuel consumption, that they redirect fossil fuel subsidies and set use intensity targets for all public building. Saxe also said that if broader public service buildings were more energy efficient, Ontario could save up to $450 million and one megatonne of greenhouse gas emissions every year. In her report, Saxe mentions other recommendations for Ontario to improve their energy conservation strategy. (Source: Toronto Sun)


Electricity Prices for Ontario

The Hourly Ontario Energy Price (HOEP) was an average of 1.201 cents per kWh in April 2016. This price is 0.628 cents higher than last month’s 0.573 cents per kWh. The weighted-average price was 1.339 cents per kWh during May 2016. The twelve month average was 1.584 cents per kWh up to May 2016.

The Global Adjustment rate for May 2016 was set at 9.668 cents per kWh. This rate was 11.132 cents in April 2016. The Global Adjustment is an additional charge paid by non-regulated customers. (Source: IESO)


sask Saskatchewan

The Ministry of Environment of Saskatchewan is developing wind energy site guidelines to ensure all future wind farm sites minimize environmental impact. Sharla Hordenchuk, director of the environmental assessment branch, believes this is an important time to create these guidelines as the province aims to have wind power make up as much as 30 per cent of the provinces energy by 2030. However, there is no timeline for the completion of these guidelines even though a 55-turbine project proposed for north of Chaplin Lake is currently in the application process. It is possible that the project could move forward before the guidelines are finalized. The Chaplin lake project is the first one to raise environmental concerns because the lake attracts tens of thousands of birds annually which would be in danger when the turbines are put in place. Stakeholders praise the government for their consultation process, but they continue to have concerns about the location. Both the Saskatchewan Environmental Society and the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation are supportive of wind energy but both want to ensure that the project is well-sited in order to avoid difficulties. The government will be holding meetings on the siting guidelines. (Source: Leaderpost)

Photo: SaskPower, via Reuters

An electrical plant on the Saskatchewan prairie was equipped with a technology that promised to pluck carbon out of the utility’s exhaust and bury it underground, transforming coal into a cleaner power source. It first look successful but now, not so much. Known as SaskPower’s Boundary Dam 3, the project has been plagued by multiple shutdowns, has fallen way short of its emissions targets, and faces an unresolved problem with its core technology. The costs, too, have soared, requiring tens of millions of dollars in new equipment and repairs. The company said it is working with the engineering firm that designed the project to solve the problems and increase efficiency. Mr. Marsh said there were indications that performance was improving. Carbon capture, he said, will be a “vital part” of reducing emissions. Based on discussions with SaskPower, Mr. Peridas said he was confident that Boundary Dam would eventually work out. “I don’t see any indication that the carbon capture system of this plant is broken,” Mr. Peridas said. “It’s had a bumpy start.” (Source: New York Times)


manitoba Manitoba

Manitoba Hydro received the Energy Start Utility of the Year on May 24 2016 from Natural Resources Canada. Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr, presented the award to Kevin Shepherd, the President and CEO of Manitoba Hydro for their excellence in promoting energy efficiency. Manitoba Hydro’s Power Smart program aims to help customers reduce their energy bills through wise use of energy. Kevin Shepherd thanked his employees and customers for their dedication and enthusiasm in the acceptance of the program. Shepherd will be a keynote speaker at the HydroVision International 2016 conference. (Source: HydroWorld)


NB  New Brunswick

The provincial moratorium placed on hydraulic fracturing has been indefinitely extended by Energy Minister Donald Arsenault. Arsenault explains that the shale gas industry has yet to meet the five conditions put it place by the government. There is still nothing in place to accommodate the first nations or to treat contaminated wastewater from the fracking sites. The decision to extend the moratorium was met with frustration from industry groups but was supported by anti-shale gas groups. Arsenault says that the provincial government will continue to work on meeting the requirements but he did not set any timelines. (Source: CBC News)


PEI Prince Edward Island

The Cabinet has approved the Prince Edward Island Energy Corporation to borrow more than #31 million as part of an agreement with Maritime Electric. The money will be used to refinance debt associated with various energy projects on the island, including the refurbishment of the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station as well as the decommissioning of the Dalhousie Thermal Generating Station. The PEI Energy Accord was set up in 2010 to lower the electricity rates of the islanders under an agreement with Maritime Electric. In exchange, the government signed a loan on behalf of the utility. The accord expired in early 2016 and a new 3 year agreement has been made. Energy Minister Paula Biggar says that “the savings should help to reduce and stabilize electricity rates in the coming years”. (Source: CBC News)


Quebec Quebec

Residents in Dollards-des-Ormeaux (DDO) Quebec, are protesting against Hydro-Québec’s plans to build 16 –story, 315 kilovolts transmission lines in their town. Residents claim that the power lines will devalue their properties, could be harmful to their health, and could possibly create noise pollution. On Sunday, May 15 2016, approximately 100 residents rallied outside of Hydro-Québec’s substation to pressure them to build the power lines underground, a project that Hydro-Québec claims will have “astronomical” costs of up to $60 million. Lynette Gilbeau, a member of the group Build it Underground DDO who organized the rally, says that the group understands the need for more power and an upgrade to the grid, but she argues that “in this day and age, it’s socially irresponsible to build 53-meter pylons, with 315 kilovolts running through them, in a densely populated area”. Gilbeau has spent the last two years informing residents of the proposed project and has gathered more than 2,000 signatures against Hydro-Québec’s plan. BAPE, Quebec’s environmental review agency, is currently holding hearings on the proposed project and is expected to submit its recommendations to the environment ministry by August 17 2016. (Source: CBC News)

Photo source: CBC News


NFL Newfoundland & Labrador

A government appointed panel has concluded that green-light fracking is too risky to be done is western Newfoundland, and they recommend the province continues its freeze on fracking applications for the time being. The panel claims that there are too many significant gaps and deficiencies in the studies and plans that have been made about green-light fracking in Newfoundland which would not allow them to proceed responsibly. Critics of fracking claim that it contaminates groundwater, causes air pollution, and increases the chance of earthquakes. The process would also have an impact on the surrounding environment, primarily around Gros Morne National Park, which is a major sustainable tourism site in Newfoundland. Simon Jansen of the Newfoundland and Labrador Fracking Awareness Network questions if fracking would be a “good fit for the existing lifestyle with respect to the fisheries and tourism” I Newfoundland, regardless of how it is executed. He emphasizes that “risks must be identified, assessed and effectively managed” and that the public must be confident that the industry will be managed and regulated in a manner that protects the health and wellbeing of the people, environments and communities most affected by it. (Source: The Globe & Mail)


Nova Scotia Nova Scotia

Green HomeIn 2015, Nova Scotians reduced their energy consumption by 1.2%, reports Efficiency Nova Scotia and since 2008 their energy consumption has been reduced by 8%. Monica MacLean, spokeswoman for Efficiency Nova Scotia, credits the impressive reduction in energy consumption to the increased awareness of energy-saving practices as well as Nova Scotians natural awareness and practice of ways to save energy. Efficiency Nova Scotia has helped 20% of Nova Scotia households replace old lightbulbs with energy-efficient LED lighting by replacing over 1.2 million light bulbs over time. According to Efficiency Nova Scotia, the 1.2% reduction in energy consumption equates to over 89,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions diverted from the atmosphere which has about the same impact as removing 18,000 vehicles off the road. Nova Scotia is the leader in energy reduction in Canada and an inspiration to other provinces, such as Alberta, as they develop their own climate change plans. (Source: CBC News)


Nunavut Nunavut

Nunavut’s Qulliq Energy Corporation (QEC) reports that there have been 12 reports of fraudulent calls so far. As of now, no customers have fallen for the scam. The callers demand immediate payment and threaten to cut the power if they are not paid. One customer reports being asked to pay $2,000 otherwise his power would be cut. Leevede Atagoyuk, a spokesperson for QEC says that QEC does not ask customers for immediate payment over the phone. QEC asks anyone who receives a call asking for immediate payment on QEC’s behalf to contact the company’s customer care line or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. (Source: CBC News)


nwt Northwest Territories

The Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation community has become the first independent power producer in all three territories. The community constructed a $350,000 35 kilowatt solar array with the help of their 300 members and green energy provider, Bullfrog Power. Agatha Laboucan, the senior administrative officer in Lutsel K’e says that Lutsel K’e is “the first in the N.W.T. to produce power and sell it to the power corporation”.They have also agreed to pay a fee to Northwest Territories Power Corporation for the diesel the solar arrays offset. The solar array was finally turned on in March 2016 after wiring problems delayed the expected March 2015 completion date. The array is projected to generate 10 to 15 % of the community’s power needs as solar power is weather dependent. The funds received from the generation will go towards a green energy fund to be used for future green energy projects. (Source: CBC News)

Photo source: Arctic Energy Alliance

Yukon Yukon

The Yukon Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the $200 million spent every year on importing fuel into the Yukon. Almost four fifths of the Yukon’s energy comes from oil and gas products primarily from exports out of the territory.  The Chamber of Commerce is launching a campaign called Fueling Yukon’s economy to bring awareness to this issues and come up with solutions to mitigate it. Fueling Yukon’s Economy will give Yukoners the opportunity to “discuss options, explore opportunities, and propose actions to increase [their] fuel independence and prosperity and plug the $200 million economic leak that’s occurring every year”. For more information the chamber of commerce encourages everyone to check the Fueling Yukon’s Economy website at  (Source: Business Wire)