Making Sense of Energy

Energy Market Update – April 2019


Alberta premier Jason Kenney says provincial carbon tax will die May 30

Premier Jason Kenney says Alberta’s carbon tax has about two weeks to live. An end to the tax brought in by the former NDP government will put an estimated $1.4 billion a year back in the pockets of taxpayers, he said. The levy is charged on home heating using fossil fuels and on gasoline at the pumps. Ending the tax would open the door to the federal government imposing its tax, as it has done with four other provinces that wouldn’t bring in their own carbon pricing: Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said the repeal “sets the stage for a made-in-Ottawa, a made-by-Justin-Trudeau carbon plan to be imposed on Albertans. Source: National Post

Electricity Prices for Alberta

The Alberta power pool price averaged 4.080 cents per kWh in April 2019. This price is 2.415 cents lower than last month’s average of 6.495 cents per kWh. The pool price has averaged 5.919 cents per kWh over the last 12 months.

As of May 9, 2019, the forward market was predicting electricity prices for the calendar years of 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. These prices are 5.925, 5.025, 5.000, and 4.900 cents per kWh respectively.

Gas Prices for Alberta

Direct Energy’s gas rate for April 2019 was $2.890 per GJ in Alberta. The May rate has been set at $2.285 per GJ. Alberta gas prices have averaged $1.839 per GJ over the last 12 months.

As of May 6, 2019, the forward market was predicting gas prices for the calendar years of 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024. These prices are 1.34, 1.63, 1.82, 1.95, 2.17, and 2.41 cents per GJ respectively.


British Columbia

Greenlit: B.C. lighthouses upgrading to wind and solar power

Gray Scale Photography of LighthouseSome of B.C.’s iconic red and white lighthouses are going green through the use of renewable energy sources. Traditionally, the remote lighthouses have relied on diesel generators that run 24 hours a day to provide electricity for the light tower and lightkeeper houses. But now, 10 of B.C.’s 27 staffed lighthouses are scheduled to receive upgrades to solar and wind power sources in the next few years. Use of the diesel generators has been reduced dramatically at sites where the systems are up and running, such as the Merry Island Lighthouse on the Sunshine Coast, he said. The generators will stay in place to be used for any power shortfalls or emergencies. Source: CBC News



Ontario Green party parodies Doug Ford’s carbon tax stickers

The Ford government’s anti-carbon-tax stickers are getting the parody treatment. The Green Party of Ontario is unveiling its own version of the sticker Thursday, with a similar graphic design, lettering and colour scheme, but a completely different message about climate change. Gas station companies that fail to post the government’s sticker on the pumps could face fines of up to $10,000 a day, under new legislation the Progressive Conservatives call the Federal Carbon Tax Transparency Act. Green Leader Mike Schreiner said his stickers will be offered free to gas stations who want to display them alongside what he calls “the propaganda stickers being forced on them by Ford.” The Green Party sticker lists bullet points on the potential effects of climate change “if we don’t act now,” including worsening extreme weather events and an annual cost of $91 billion by 2050.  Source: CBC News

Electricity Prices for Ontario

The Hourly Ontario Energy Price (HOEP) was an average of 1.479 cents per kWh in April 2019. This price is 1.191 cents lower than last month’s 2.670 cents per kWh. The twelve month moving average was 2.255 cents per kWh up to April 2019.

The Actual Rate for the Global Adjustment rate Class B for April 2019 was set at 12.333 cents per kWh. The Global Adjustment is an additional charge paid by non-regulated customers. (Source: IESO)



Saskatchewan court rules federal carbon tax constitutional in first of several legal challenges

Saskatchewan’s highest court has concluded that the federal carbon tax is constitutional, handing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a victory in the first of several legal challenges on the issue from conservative premiers in the months before a federal election. Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal decided 3-2 on Friday that climate change is a vital national issue and the federal government has the power to set greenhouse gas standards that the provinces must meet. Ottawa said the court’s conclusion, while not binding, is a win and allows the federal government to undertake significant action on carbon emissions while respecting Canada’s Constitution. Source: The Globe and Mail



Manitoba continuing carbon tax challenge despite Saskatchewan court ruling

Manitoba is sticking with a legal challenge of the federal carbon tax, even though a Saskatchewan court has ruled in Ottawa’s favour in a similar case. Manitoba announced its own legal challenge against the federal carbon tax on April 3, two days after Ottawa imposed the tax on four provinces — Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick — that didn’t meet Ottawa’s standard for a sufficient carbon pricing system. The imposed carbon tax is applied to 21 different kinds of fuel, including gasoline, at a rate of $20 per tonne of carbon-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions. That tax will gradually rise to $50 per tonne by 2022. Manitoba plans to continue with its own challenge, Justice Minister Cliff Cullen said in a statement. Source: CBC News


New Brunswick

NB Power CEO confident Joi Scientific investigations ‘will go away’

A Florida startup involved in a multi-million-dollar hydrogen partnership with NB Power is the subject of two related investigations by two separate agencies in Florida, according to public records in that state. But NB Power CEO Gaëtan Thomas said he is “confident” the investigations involving Joi Scientific, which has received $13 million in licensing fees from NB Power, “will go away.” Joi Scientific claims to have developed an efficient way to generate hydrogen gas from seawater on demand, something NB Power hopes will hold the key to powering the Belledune generating station beyond 2030, when coal is phased out. A Vancouver-based energy consultant has described the technology as “too good to be true,” but Kennedy said the company has already proved to its customers that its technology works. The utility has paid Joi Scientific $13 million Canadian to license the technology, giving the utility first right to use it for power generation. NB Power could then market it outside the province and share in the profits. Source: CBC News


Prince Edward Island

Record amount of wind energy generated on P.E.I. in February

Prince Edward Island’s wind farms shattered the previous records for electricity generation in February, according to a report from Statistics Canada. The wind farms generated 75,531 megawatt-hours of energy in February. That’s 11 per cent more than the previous best month, 67,850 in December 2018. MacLeod said over the course of the year about 24 per cent of the Island’s electricity is generated by wind, but that varies from month to month. The best seasons for wind power generation are the fall and winter. Peak month generation can be more than double the slowest month. Source: CBC News

White Windmill



Hydro-Québec’s Sustainability Report 2018: Québec electricity, 99.8% clean, is a key advantage for a low-carbon future

Hydro-Québec is proud to present its most, recent Sustainability Report which describes the utility’s performance with respect to its main environmental, social, economic and governance issues. The electricity delivered to our customers comes from 99.8% clean and renewable sources and thus contributes to the decarbonization of Québec’s economy. Québec long ago opted for hydroelectricity, clean, renewable energy with known, well-controlled environmental impacts. Today, Hydro-Québec is actively engaged in the energy transition and in the fight against climate change in North America. Source: Hydro Quebec


Newfoundland and Labrador

What’s the deal with Muskrat Falls? Answers to a few frequently asked questions

Before the political bluster, the protests, the rate mitigation strategies, the bankrupt contracting company and the public inquiry, Muskrat Falls was just a waterfall. The so-called Muskrat Falls project was first pitched as a hydroelectric megaproject called the Lower Churchill Project. It’s tough to put together a concise summary of all of the objections to and alleged problems with the Muskrat Falls project. That’s why the public inquiry, looking at why that original $6.2-billion price tag has nearly doubled and why the project is a year behind schedule, won’t wrap up until mid-August. CBC’s Terry Roberts has been at the Muskrat Falls Inquiry since it began, and compiled this handy list of five key reasons the project went so horribly wrong. Source: CBC News


 Nova Scotia

Bridgewater wins $5M from federal program to improve energy efficiency

“It’s an incredible moment for our community,” said Bridgewater Mayor David Mitchell. “It’s emotional. Forty 40 per cent of our community live in energy poverty and knowing what this now means for them, I’m just proud of my staff my council and my community.” Energy poverty means people are spending more than 10 per cent of their income on their energy needs like heat and light, said Mitchell. The $5 million comes from Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge program. It was a competition open to all communities across the country, it asked leaders to supply a plan to improve the lives of residents through innovation and technology. The town’s plan is to reduce the rate of energy poverty 20 per cent by 2025.  Source: CBC News



Qulliq Energy Corporation applies rate increase and announces fuel rider charge has ended

Qulliq Energy Corporation (QEC) would like to remind customers that the second phase of the rate increase approved by the Minister responsible for QEC has come into effect on April 1, 2019. After reviewing QEC’s General Rate Application submitted in 2017, the Minister responsible for QEC approved a 6.6% increase to Nunavut’s electricity rates, to be applied to customer bills over a two-year period. The first increase of 3.3% was effective May 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019. The second rate increase of 3.3% is now in effect and will begin to appear on customer bills covering electricity usage for the month of April.  “The new rates will help meet QEC’s revenue requirements and ensure important infrastructure upgrades can be completed, “said Bruno Pereira, QEC President and CEO. “The increase was phased in over two years to help reduce the impact to our customers.” Source: Quilliq Energy Corporation


Northwest Territories

Canada and Northwest Territories announce climate action to reduce industrial and commercial pollution

White Polar Bear on White Snowy Field Near Canal during DaytimeA report from expert Canadian scientists showed that Canada is warming at twice the global rate and that the North is warming at three times the global rate. People in the Northwest Territories are feeling the impacts of climate change in their communities. On May 10, 2019, the Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories, Michael McLeod, on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, Catherine McKenna, joined the Honourable Wally Schumann, Minister of Infrastructure and Industry, Tourism and Investment for the Government of the Northwest Territories to announce up to $8 million in federal support for the Government of the Northwest Territories’ new Greenhouse Gas Grant Program for Buildings and Industry. This new application-based grant program will support projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from heating, electricity, transportation, and industrial processes. The program will lower the upfront cost of energy efficiency retrofits, like space heating boiler and district heating systems, ensuring that the transition to a clean economy is affordable for all. Source: Government of Canada



Low Snow Packs Plus Low Water Means More Electricity Generated Using Thermal Fuel Sources this Year

Hydro plays a key role in the Yukon’s electricity mix. In 2018, we used water to generate almost 94 per cent of the electricity needed by Yukoners connected to the Yukon grid. Thermal fuel sources like liquefied natural gas (LNG) and diesel were used to generate the other 6 per cent of Yukoners’ needs. Running a hydro operation means being at the mercy of available water. Over the past two winters, warm temperatures and dry conditions in much of the Yukon has resulted in lower than normal snow pack and water inflows at all three of our hydroelectric generation facilities. With less water available to generate electricity, we’ll need to use more LNG this spring and fall to meet electricity demand. We anticipate needing to generate an additional 50 to 100 GWh of electricity using LNG in 2019. Operating an isolated power system means we do not have the option of buying and importing electricity from other provinces. This means that when local renewable sources of electricity are not available to meet demand, we must use reliable fuel sources like LNG and diesel to fill the gap. With every simple conservation choice we make, we reduce the need to use LNG and diesel to generate electricity and save more of Yukon’s resources for the future. Source: Yukon Energy