Coal was used to produce about 43-51 per cent of the electricity used in Alberta, 63 per cent in Saskatchewan, 60 per cent in Nova Scotia. Ontario stopped using coal for electricity this year. About 4 million tons per year is use for steel production and other industrial purposes.
The Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) brushed aside environmental objections to approve the second jumbo natural gas-fired power station in a long-range lineup to replace the province’s aging coal plants. The decision enables Capital Power and Enmax to produce 1,050 MW by installing two gas-burning units beside coal-burning generators at Genesee, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of the provincial capital of Edmonton. Capital Power and Enmax are currently building an 800 MW, gas-fired station for C$1.7 billion (US$1.5 billion), the Shepard Energy Centre, on a 60-acre lot in a Calgary industrial park. The gas fired stations should be completed in 2018-2020.
The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) calculates that gas power stations across the province will burn 1.3 Bcf/d of gas as of 2023, up 65% from the 800 MMcf/d recorded in 2013. The outlook is the same in a longer-range forecast by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), a provincial transmission grid planning and management agency.
The AESO predicts that by 2034, coal-fired power stations will fall from their dominant position of generating 43% of Alberta electricity to 10%, with output shrinking to 2,059 MW from 6,271 MW. Various forms of gas are forecast to take over.
Over the next 20 years, the AESO expects the combined market share of hydroelectric, wind and other alternative generation to grow only marginally, to 18% of Alberta power supplies from their current 16%.
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