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Home » Energy Market Update: February 2023

Energy Market Update: February 2023


Alberta government establishes new panel to develop vision for province’s energy sector

The Alberta government has struck a new panel that aims to develop a long-term vision for the future of the province’s energy sector. The five-member panel of oilpatch veterans will be chaired by David Yager, an energy policy analyst and long-time writer who’s been in the oil and gas industry for more than 30 years. The panel is to meet with government ministries and industry stakeholders, although Smith makes no mention of public consultation or outside experts. The panel comes after Smith sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau inviting him to collaborate with the province to attract more workers into Alberta’s energy sectors.

The letter also asked the prime minister to work with the province to reduce Canada’s and Alberta’s net emissions at the same time. The premier said the government of Alberta is “prepared” to work with the federal government on a “coordinated approach” for a carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) incentive program to reduce net emissions. Carbon capture is a process that captures carbon dioxide generated from industrial processes, such as the burning of fossil fuels, and then transporting and storing it underground. It is a method often touted by energy companies as a way to tackle climate change. Source: Global News

Electricity Prices for Alberta

The Alberta power pool price averaged 12.350 cents per kWh in February 2023. This price is 0.263 cents lower than last month’s average. The pool price has averaged 16.660 cents per kWh over the last 12 months.

As of March 1, 2023, the forward market was predicting electricity prices for the calendar years of 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027, and 2028. These prices are 13.884, 9.302, 8.000, 7.600, 7.675, and 7.675 cents per kWh respectively.

Gas Prices for Alberta

Direct Energy’s gas rate for February 2023 was $3.090 per GJ in Alberta. The March 2023 rate has been set at $2.222 per GJ. Alberta gas prices have averaged $5.677 per GJ over the last 12 months.

As of February 1, 2023, the forward market was predicting gas prices for the calendar years of 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026, and 2027. These prices are 2.9, 3.3, 3.77, 4.0, and 4.05 cents per GJ respectively.


British Columbia

B.C. modernizes oil, gas, energy regulator board

The Province is improving transparency in oversight and governance of the energy resource sector through a more modern, inclusive, and larger board for its energy regulator.

“As the energy sector evolves, it’s vital that we ensure its regulation reflects the values and expectations of a modern industry and of British Columbians. Emerging energy sectors, such as hydrogen, geothermal and carbon capture, will generate economic opportunities and help B.C. reduce emissions and transition to clean energy. Increasing the size and diversity of the board of directors improves inclusion and better reflects the expanded energy resource mandate.” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. Other key changes include an official name change from the BC Oil and Gas Commission to the British Columbia Energy Regulator to better align with its expanded role of regulating the life cycle of oil, gas, and hydrogen industries within B.C. In addition, the board will now consist of five to seven directors and be required to include Indigenous representation. Previously, there were three directors and a number of independent board consultants who assisted the board in its oversight responsibilities. To underscore the board’s independence from the management team, the chief executive officer will no longer serve as a member. Source: British Columbia



Ontario Power Generation urges province to move ahead with new power projects

Ontario Power Generation has urged Ontario’s government to move forward with new hydroelectric generation plants in Northern Ontario. In a released report, the province’s largest utility told the provincial government that the region contains up to 4,000 megawatts of untapped hydroelectric potential. OPG recommended that planning for new facilities begin immediately, given the long lead times involved. The report arrives at a moment of renewed interest in building new hydro dams, as governments and utilities across the country anticipate significant increases in electricity demand, driven by electric vehicles and other factors. Dam construction is very expensive relative to competing technologies and can take a decade or more. But according to the International Energy Agency, dams also boast some of the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy generated. Ontario exploited most of its large hydroelectric sites early in the 20th century. According to the Canada Energy Regulator, the province has more than 200 hydroelectric facilities with a combined capacity of 9,160 megawatts. OPG’s 66 dams comprise the majority of that. Source:  The Globe and Mail



Premier Advocates for Saskatchewan Resources in Houston

Premier Scott Moe and Energy and Resources Minister Jim Reiter will lead a trade and investment mission to Houston, Texas. The delegation will meet with key US investors and promote opportunities in Saskatchewan’s natural resource sectors. The delegation will attend and participate in an Investment Forum featuring Saskatchewan, hosted by Pickering Energy Partners. The Forum will include panel discussions for investors to learn about Saskatchewan’s strengths in oil and gas, carbon capture utilization and storage, helium and other critical minerals, and value-added agriculture. “Saskatchewan is already a leader in producing the food, fuel and fertilizer that the world needs,” Reiter said. “Our mission in Houston builds on the significant groundwork that past trade missions have laid. It also further amplifies why Saskatchewan is a strong, innovative and attractive jurisdiction for investment.” Source: Saskatchewan



Manitoba Government sets new five-year greenhouse-gas reduction goal building on success of first emissions reduction target

Poised to achieve its first greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions target of one megatonne (MT) for the 2018 to 2022 period, the Manitoba government has set a new cumulative GHG emissions reduction goal of not less than 5.6 MT over the next five years, based on independent, scientific recommendations made by the Expert Advisory Council. This is the second five-year period of the CSA (2023 to 2027). Manitoba was the first jurisdiction in North America to establish an economy-wide carbon savings account. The latest data from the federal government shows the Manitoba government is on track to meet its initial goal of reducing GHG emissions by one MT, the minister said. The minister noted that over the first CSA period, emission reductions were achieved through several avenues including the introduction of Efficiency Manitoba and its many programs, and the decommissioning of the Brandon 5 coal Generating Unit ahead of schedule. The council’s recommended 5.6-megatonne reduction target for 2023 to 2027 is equal to the emissions from 1.7 million gasoline-powered passenger vehicles for one year. Source: Province of Manitoba


New Brunswick

Opponents of N.B. Power rate increase focus attention on stale budget numbers

N.B. Power is fighting mounting claims at its rate hearing that the 8.9 per cent increase is an exaggerated request based partly on temporarily high commodity prices from months ago that have long since fallen. The utility is dismissing the issue as irrelevant since it has largely locked itself into prices for the next year already and claims it has suffered other financial setbacks that require the higher rates anyway. Much of the 8.9 per cent increase being requested is to pay for an estimated $128.7 million spike in the cost of fuel and power N.B. Power buys to supply New Brunswick customers. But that is based on numbers that were calculated last June, when prices for a number of critical commodities like coal, oil, natural gas and importable electricity were mostly higher than they are now. N.B. Power is making a case that its financial condition has worsened since it first proposed the 8.9 per cent increase, adding to the urgency of it being awarded in full. Source: CBC


Prince Edward Island

Aggressive Net-Zero Plan Puts PEI at ‘Centre of Energy Transition Universe’

With a population of 161,455 and just 1.6 million tonnes of emissions in 2020—less than a quarter of a percent of the national total—PEI might not be the first place most Canadians would look for decisive action to cut carbon. But a 2040 deadline to achieve a 100% emissions reduction may make it the first province or territory to hit net-zero, and some of the program innovations the island is trying out are already catching the attention of other governments. Mayor Steve Ogden of Stratford, PEI, a community of 9,700 about six kilometres southeast of Charlottetown, was in the room for Hermansen’s talk. The town received $2.5 million from the FCM’s Green Municipal Fund for its share of the Switch Efficiency Program, which conducts home energy assessments before offering zero-interest loans for up to 15 years to help homeowners pay for solar panels, heat pumps, or new windows or insulation.

The province augments the program with free or discounted heat pumps for households below a certain income threshold. Switch Efficiency participants also have access to an online navigator to help them track other federal or provincial funding that will help pay for their energy efficiency improvements and carbon reductions. Even after making their monthly payments, the program ensures that homeowners save at least $15 per month on home energy, and the installations pay for themselves over time through the energy costs they prevent. Source: The Energy Mix



Bill limiting Hydro-Québec residential rate hike to 3% passes National Assembly

Bill 2, which limits the increase in residential Hydro-Québec rates to three per cent, was adopted Wednesday at the National Assembly. “With this bill, the Quebec government limits the effects of inflation on the increase in residential rates by providing for a three per cent cap on the indexation,” reads a statement from Economy, Innovation and Energy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon. “This measure is part of targeted actions in the anti-inflation shield to limit the impact on the increase in the cost of living.” The bill also includes changes to the Act Respecting the Régie de l’Énergie that would strengthen Hydro-Québec’s obligation to distribute electricity amid strong demand in the coming years. Under the changes, Hydro-Québec would no longer be obligated to serve all industrial projects of more than five megawatts. Source: Montreal Gazette


Newfoundland and Labrador

Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador invest in climate action projects in support of the city of St. John’s Corporate Climate Plan

Joanne Thompson, Member of Parliament, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced an investment of up to $1.7 million to support the Corporate Climate Plan of the city of St. John’s. The provincial government will contribute over $1.4 million for this initiative, and the city of St. John’s will contribute over $1.1 million as part of a broader investment of almost $6.7 million to improve energy performance in 17 city-owned facilities. These investments will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in city-owned facilities by improving energy efficiency and supporting the transition from oil to electricity across the city. Infrastructure upgrades will include the installation of electric heating systems, building envelope air sealing (to keep heated or cooled air inside depending on the season), and installing automated controls to enable staff to better troubleshoot and operate equipment. The federal funding comes from the Low Carbon Economy Fund, which invests in projects that reduce carbon pollution, and supports a broad range of recipients to put in place clean technologies that will help them be more efficient and innovative. Source: Government of Canada


Nova Scotia

Nova Scotians will see their power bills increase by 14% by next January

The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board announced Thursday that it has approved most of the utility’s general rate application settlement agreement that was reached in November with representatives for all major customer classes, representing most of Nova Scotia Power’s customers. The board provides for average rate increases of 6.9 per cent across all customer classes in each of 2023 and 2024. The increase for 2023 is effective immediately and next year’s increase will kick in Jan. 1, 2024. When compounded, the residential rate increase comes in at a 14.17 per cent hike over two years. Bill 212, passed into law by Premier Tim Houston and the Progressive Conservative government in November, required that the net rate increase for the utility, across all rate classes, not be greater than 1.8 per cent in 2022, 2023 and 2024, with the exception of an increase for fuel costs and demand side management costs.  The legislation also required that revenue generated from the net rate increase could only be used to improve service reliability. Source: Salt Wire



Canada and Nunavut support the design phase for two new water treatment facilities

Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, and the Honourable David Joanasie, Minister for Community and Government Services for the Government of Nunavut, announced joint funding of $1.9 million for the design phase of two new water treatment plants in Rankin Inlet and Grise Fiord. The announcement contributes to the Government of Canada’s commitment to sustainably develop the North. Water treatment facilities perform vital functions that help make our communities healthier and more sustainable. Through projects like these, Arctic and northern communities are getting the resources they need to improve their essential services. By investing in infrastructure, the Government of Canada is growing our country’s economy, increasing the resiliency of our communities, and improving the lives of Inuit and all Canadians. Source: Government of Nunavut


Northwest Territories

NWT seeks input on 2022-2025 Energy Action Plan

The NWT government says the new plan will guide actions and initiatives between 2022 and 2025 to reach the goals of the 2030 Energy Strategy. That strategy sets out a long-term approach for “supporting secure, affordable, and sustainable energy” for transportation, heat, and electricity for all residents. The plan also includes initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Residents can provide input about what they’d like to see in the shorter-term action plan by emailing the Department of Infrastructure. Submissions will be kept confidential. The NWT government suggested that feedback could include initiatives that should continue from the 2019-2022 action plan, how the territory can improve current projects and actions, new projects that could be introduced, and how to address the biggest energy issues in communities. Source: Cabin Radio



Yukon Energy to improve communications, in case of another deep-freeze power outage

Yukon Energy held a briefing with officials about a series of power outages during a December cold snap — and the focus was more on communications than the cause of the outages. It follows a similar briefing in January, a month after a string of –40 C temperatures contributed to power outages in Dawson City, Pelly Crossing, and Whitehorse. They reiterated the point that communication needs to be quicker when outages occur during a deep freeze. The company has said that equipment failure was to blame for the outages in Pelly and Dawson, while a power surge was the reason for failures in Whitehorse.  Utilities companies will meet annually with the city to look at plans. That will allow the companies to estimate how the load may change through the year, so they can better anticipate energy needs during a cold snap. Another change is that EMO will serve as the single point of contact between communities, and ATCO Electric and Yukon Energy. Cutting out multiple contacts will make the process more efficient. That way, EMO can contact emergency management teams in communities if they need to be activated. Source: Eye on the Arctic