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Home » Energy Market Update: November 2023

Energy Market Update: November 2023


Pathways Alliance increasingly confident $16.5B carbon capture project will go ahead

The Pathways Alliance is a consortium of Canada’s largest oilsands companies — Suncor Energy Inc., Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Cenovus Energy Inc., Imperial Oil Ltd., MEG Energy Corp. and ConocoPhillips Canada — which have banded together to propose a $16.5-billion carbon capture and storage network to decrease emissions from oilsands sites in northern Alberta. The proposed project is the centrepiece of the oilsands industry’s pledge to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, something it must do if Canada is to meet its international climate commitments. In the federal fall economic statement, the government provided additional details about its promised carbon capture investment tax credit — including a timeline for its finalization, something oilsands companies had been waiting for.

The industry also received a commitment from the government that up to $7 billion in federal funding will be allocated to special contracts intended to give companies the confidence they need to make major investments to lower their greenhouse gas emissions. The Alberta government is expected to announce its own financial support program for carbon capture development. The approvals process could take at least a year. But Pathways will likely end up placing its first purchase orders for pipe in 2024 so that construction can begin on the proposed 400-km CO2 transportation line as soon as a regulatory permit is granted. Source: Calgary Herald

Electricity Prices for Alberta

The Alberta power pool price averaged 9.389 cents per kWh in November 2023. This price is 0.545 cents lower than last month’s average of 9.934 cents. The pool price has averaged 15.519 cents per kWh over the last 12 months.

As of December 1, 2023, the forward market was predicting electricity prices for the calendar years of 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027, and 2028. These prices are 12.800, 8.969, 6.604, 6.750, 6.850, and 6.875 cents per kWh respectively.

Gas Prices for Alberta

Direct Energy’s gas rate for November 2023 was $2.850 per GJ in Alberta. The December 2023 rate has been set at $2.902 per GJ. Alberta gas prices have averaged $3.106 per GJ over the last 12 months.

As of December 1, 2023, the forward market was predicting gas prices for the calendar years of 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026, and 2027. These prices are 2.41, 2.42, 3.46, 3.69, and 3.63 cents per GJ respectively.


British Columbia

Why B.C. is poised to be an energy powerhouse

With new heavy oil and liquefied natural gas terminals and a new hydroelectric dam nearing completion, as well as new green hydrogen production and biodiesel refineries in the works, and carbon capture companies reaching $1 billion valuations, British Columbia has become quite the energy and clean-tech powerhouse. Roughly $90 billion worth of energy mega-projects are nearing completion in B.C. – the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink pipeline, and Site C dam – with tens of billions of dollars of further investments still to come in other energy projects in the queue, including two LNG terminals led by First Nations (Cedar and Ksi Lisims LNG), green hydrogen and ammonia production proposals, and new renewable energy and transmission projects. B.C.’s natural advantages as an energy producer and exporter include tidewater access and proximity to Asia, an abundance of liquids-rich natural gas, abundant clean hydro power, and hub of clean tech companies specializing in hydrogen fuel cell technology and carbon capture.

And increasingly, First Nations in B.C. are proving to be important business partners in major energy projects, notably LNG. B.C.’s clean energy policies are also encouraging new, clean energy projects, including the first stand-alone biodiesel refinery in Canada – the Tidewater Renewables project in Prince George. While environmentalists have warned B.C. could become a boneyard of stranded fossil fuel assets, as the world ends its reliance on fossil fuels, it was suggested some of the projections about peak oil and gas demand may be overly optimistic. Source: BIV



Ontario Boosting Its Electricity Grid with Hydrogen

The Ontario government is investing $5.9 million in nine new projects that will integrate hydrogen into the province’s electricity grid. This funding is through the Hydrogen Innovation Fund which supports projects that pave the way for the production of reliable, affordable, and clean electricity from hydrogen to help power the province’s growth. As part of the funding, Atura Power is receiving $4.1 million to blend hydrogen with natural gas to produce electricity at Halton Hills Generating Station (HHGS) making it the largest electricity-based, grid-connected, low-carbon hydrogen blending project in Canada’s history. The Niagara Hydrogen Centre will utilize excess water that would otherwise have been spilled over Niagara Falls to create clean electricity that will be used to produce clean hydrogen for the project. As part of the province’s Low-Carbon Hydrogen Strategy, Ontario established the Hydrogen Innovation Fund in February 2023 which will invest $15 million over the next three years to kickstart and develop opportunities for hydrogen to be integrated into Ontario’s clean electricity system, including hydrogen electricity storage. Source:  Ontario



Sask. Research Council gets $80M from province for microreactor research

The provincial government on Monday said the investment for the Saskatchewan Research Council is in place “to pursue the demonstration of a microreactor” in the province. SRC says it will use the research and information gathered from licensing and deployment to help the nuclear industry in the province better understand the technology and the potential for future projects. According to Westinghouse Electric Company president-CEO Patrick Fragman, the technology is “perfect for Saskatchewan” since it is fully transportable, provides carbon-free electricity and heat, uses no water, and can be removed from the site after operating continuously for eight years or more.

Additionally, its type of five-megawatt reactor can power more than 3,000 homes, which it says can be ideal for remote communities. The microreactor is expected to be operational by 2029. According to the province, the reactor’s location will be determined as the project progresses through regulatory processes. The province says the surrounding infrastructure is relatively small — not even two-thirds the size of an average hockey rink. The eVinci microreactor can produce five megawatts of electricity and more than 13 megawatts of high temperature heat. Source: Saskatoon Star Phoenix



Federal government provides millions for energy projects in Manitoba

The federal government is providing nearly $185 million to help fund two hydro projects in Manitoba. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was in Winnipeg to announce Ottawa will contribute $114.1 million to replace eight aging hydroelectric generating units at Manitoba Hydro’s Pointe du Bois generating station in the province’s southeast. The Crown corporation expects the new units will help provide power to an additional 35,000 homes. She also announced more than $70 million for the construction of a new transmission line to serve southwest Manitoba. The province says this will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the Brandon Generating Station by about 37%. Manitoba has committed $290 million to the projects. Source: Winnipeg Sun


New Brunswick

NB Power will be mandated to buy power from SMRs, even if not the lowest cost option

New amendments to the Electricity Act would force New Brunswick Power to purchase electricity generated by small modular nuclear reactors, even if it isn’t the lowest-cost option. There are two companies with Saint John offices developing the next generation “modular” reactors that will be built at the province’s lone nuclear power site at Point Lepreau. According to NB Power’s latest integrated resource plan (IRP), it’s expected that ARC’s 150-megawatt sodium-cooled reactor will be up and running by 2035, while Moltex’s 300 MW molten salt reactor will be ready to join the grid in 2039.

The plan says that it’s possible another 300 MW of SMR generation will be built in the 2040s. A key claim from both companies is that the reactors will be cheaper to manufacture than traditional nuclear because of their modular nature and will become cheaper over time as more of them are produced. Energy Minister Mike Holland said the province is counting on future reactors providing cheaper power than the first provided by either company. Both companies have received tens of millions of dollars in public money from the provincial and federal governments. NB Power will not foot the bill for construction; it’s expected that the units will be constructed with private investments and then the power will be sold to the utility. Source: Global News


Prince Edward Island

Aslan Renewables’ sustainable hydroelectric solutions attract global interest

Aslan Renewables, a PEI-based company founded by successful tech entrepreneur Andrew Murray, is revolutionizing renewable energy with its scalable modular dams designed to bring Canada’s 50,000 historical hydro sites back to life with modern technology. As governments ramp up efforts to decarbonize the electricity grid and provide residents access to clean, reliable, and affordable power, Aslan Renewables’ made-in-Canada hydroelectric solutions offer communities the ability to harness energy from rivers and tidal waterways, renewing the value of existing energy infrastructure as sources of infinite green energy. While Canada is a world leader in the production and use of energy from renewable resources, and the second largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world, its generated by large scale plants. With simple installation and a modular approach, Aslan dams are designed to power small communities, schools, hospitals, and businesses from local waterways.

Collectively, they also have the potential to power metro grids. Developed over the past three years in partnership with the University of PEI, Mi’kmaq and Abegweit First Nations, and private landowners, Aslan dams are tailored to Canadian climates, flow dynamics, and fish populations. In March 2024, Aslan will launch a pilot project as part of a power purchase agreement with the Government of Prince Edward Island involving three dam sites, which will supply upwards of 350,000 kilowatt hours of hydroelectricity to the province’s grid each year.  A subsequent phase is planned to include industrial and tidal sources of hydro, allowing the province to source more than 10 percent of its power from local and sustainable hydro sources by 2035, which will directly contribute to meeting Prince Edward Island’s net-zero energy targets. Source: Cision-Newswire



Massive investment will reduce power outages, boost capacity: Hydro-Québec

Hydro-Québec plans to massively ramp up investment over the next 12 years to boost production capacity, improve energy efficiency and significantly reduce power outages as individual and industrial demand in the province skyrockets. Canada’s biggest electricity producer will probably need to spend $155 billion to $185 billion by 2035 to carry out its action plan, new chief executive officer Michael Sabia said Thursday. At around $16 billion, the annual investment budget represents up to four times the current average, Hydro-Québec said. State-owned Hydro-Québec is the linchpin of the provincial government’s plans to decarbonize the province by 2050. Despite Quebec’s status as a leader in hydroelectric production, fossil fuels still represent about half of the energy consumed in the province. Hydro-Québec projects electricity demand in Quebec will double by 2050, which means that up to 200 terawatt-hours of extra capacity will be required by that point to satisfy customer appetite. To get there, Hydro-Québec estimates it will need to expand annual generating capacity by between 8,000 and 9,000 megawatts in the next 12 years. Source: Montreal Gazette


Newfoundland and Labrador

N.L. wants details on environmental impact before hydrogen project can move forward

World Energy GH2 must include more details in its environmental assessment of the massive development, called Project Nujio’qonik, the Department of Environment and Climate Change said. World Energy GH2 is hoping to erect two wind farms, each of up to 164 wind turbines, on western Newfoundland’s Port au Port Peninsula and in the nearby Codroy Valley area, as well as a hydrogen and ammonia production plant in the neighbouring town of Stephenville. Their ambitions in the province have sparked protests in western Newfoundland, where some residents say they’re concerned about Project Nujio’qonik’s footprint in an area home to a delicate ecosystem.

The green hydrogen that GH2 is promoting uses renewable power like wind to split hydrogen from water molecules by electrolysis. Green hydrogen has no emissions, but it costs more to make than hydrogen produced from fossil fuels. Hydrogen is mainly used to help in oil refineries and to make fertilizer, iron and steel, and methanol, an alcohol used in some paints and plastics and construction materials. In the low-carbon economy transition, hydrogen can play a bigger role as a source of energy to power cars, heavy vehicles, planes and cargo ships, and to replace coal and natural gas as a source of electricity. Source: Toronto Star


Nova Scotia

Canada Backs New Hydrogen Project in Nova Scotia

EverWind and Export Development Canada on behalf of the Government of Canada reached an agreement in principle on terms for a $125-million debt facility to support the project, pending final due diligence. The project will help put Atlantic Canada on the global stage as a leader in clean energy. Hydrogen is expected to play a key role in meeting Canada’s net-zero goals. Under the Government of Canada’s plan to build Canada’s clean economy, more than 90 clean-growth projects with a total value exceeding $40 billion, including private investment, began over the past 3 years or will soon move forward into construction across Canada. Source: Mirage News



Goose gold mine plows ahead along with plans for renewable energy

B2Gold is constructing the Goose gold mine near Bathurst Inlet and has released its renewable energy plan, which outlines a vision to build environmentally friendly power systems to help extract resources as part of the company’s “commitment to ongoing environmental stewardship of the project area.” The mine, which received a project certificate through the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) in 2017, has been progressing with input from the Kitikmeot Inuit Association (KIA), which signed a framework agreement in 2018. B2Gold cites its history of “industry-leading and award-winning community engagement” and promises that “Kitikmeot-qualified business regulation is key to procurement.”

The renewable energy plan includes up to 13 wind turbines, a solar panel array, and a battery energy storage system. Additionally, the company has taken into account caribou migration patterns, as well as atmospheric, freshwater, human, marine, and terrestrial factors in its design. The plan calculates that renewable energy technologies will reduce winter road traffic by about 700 trips, will ultimately shorten the winter ice road operating time, and will reduce diesel fuel consumption by about 10 million litres and sea lift deliveries by about 18 per cent per year. The proposed plan will also reduce carbon emissions by more than 30,000 tonnes, as well as reducing the risk of terrestrial and marine fuel spills. Source: Nunavut News


Northwest Territories

Fort Liard’s geothermal champion not deterred by poor study results

The Northwest Territories Geological Survey (NTGS) says a rock formation in southwestern N.W.T. wouldn’t be good for drawing geothermal energy — but a geothermal champion in one community isn’t deterred. Viktor Terlaky, a manager with the NTGS, presented findings from a study of two rock types found in the Nahanni formation at the Yellowknife Geosciences Forum. Both had previously been explored for gas and the research team was able to look at core samples from eight wells to see how effectively water would be able to flow through the rock — a critical factor for a viable geothermal reservoir.

Geothermal energy comes naturally from heat that is both generated and stored within the earth, meaning that it’s renewable. Accessing it involves drawing hot water from underground reservoirs, which can be used for its heat or to generate electricity. Plans to harness geothermal potential below Fort Liard have failed before. Fort Liard’s geothermal liaison, Angus James Capot-Blanc Jr., isn’t worried that’ll happen again. Although one forum presenter said Fort Liard was the only community out of 10 in southwest N.W.T. where she believed it’d be possible to generate geothermal electricity, Capot-Blanc Jr.’s visions involve making use of geothermal heat instead. He said it could be used to heat homes and public buildings, helping Fort Liard reduce its reliance on diesel and creating jobs. Iceland is an example of where this is being done already: about 85 per cent of homes in the country are heated with geothermal energy. Source: CBC



Yukon wants to electrify to slash emissions but faces a shortage of green power

Yukon Energy officials say the utility will be hard-pressed to produce enough renewable power to meet the territory’s emissions targets. Under terms of the government’s Confidence and Supply Agreement, the territory’s climate change plans call for emissions to drop 45 per cent by 2030. But the utility also forecasts that overall non-industrial demand for power will grow by 36 per cent over the same time. Hitting emissions targets requires widespread electrification, especially for the energy-intensive transportation and home heating sectors. And if that power isn’t coming from renewable sources, it won’t help bring emissions down nearly as much.

“We are looking at a lot of electric cars, a lot of electric heat pumps, and a lot of electric heating coming online in 2030, and that’s so important. We really, really need that,” said NDP MLA Lane Tredger. “[But] I am trying to understand how we are going to meet that energy need.” Yukon Energy’s acting president Chris Milner said all the company’s major renewable projects are now on hold. But some renewable projects are still going ahead. Milner said Yukon Energy is about to plug in to the new four-megawatt wind turbine array on Haeckel Hill in Whitehorse. And construction continues on a new grid-scale battery that would allow the utility to save hydro power produced during off-peak times and feed to the grid during times of high demand, reducing the need for electricity from fossil fuels. There’s also a new program to reduce electricity demand the utility hopes will save seven megawatts by 2030. Source: CBC