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Old Posted Sep 13, 2020, 3:18 PM
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The Great Canadian Energy/Power Thread

I wanted to make a thread for discussion on our power generation and energy sectors in Canada. Our power generation and energy sectors are both highly important to our economy, as we heavily export both electricity and fossil fuels to the US. I know power generation and energy projects are very highly politicized in this country and everyone has differing opinions, so please try and keep these discussions civil.

Figured I would start the thread off with a breakdown of power generation types by each province/territory, found on the Canadian Energy Regulator site:

PEI - Imports base load from NB, but generates wind for int/peak load.


Nova Scotia - Heavy usage of coal/coke base load, with a mix of others for int/peak load.


Newfoundland & Labrador - Mostly hydro for all loads with some others for int/peak loads.


New Brunswick - Mix of nuclear, hydro, and coal/coke base load, with natural gas and wind for int/peak loads.


Quebec - Almost exclusively hydro for all loads, with some wind.


Ontario - Nuclear and hydro base load, with wind, nat gas, and solar for int/peak loads:


Manitoba - Almost exclusively hydro for all loads, with some wind.


Saskatchewan - Heavy usage of nat gas and coal/coke for all loads, with significant hydro and wind.


Alberta - Heavy usage of nat gas and coal/coke for all loads, with some wind.


British Columbia - Almost exclusively hydro for all loads, with some biomass generation.


Nunavut - No power grid, diesel for isolated community power and heating.


Northwest Territories - Some small hydro and nat gas developments, diesel for isolated community power and heating.


Yukon - Small hydro developments, diesel for isolated community power and heating.

Last edited by ericmacm; Sep 13, 2020 at 4:10 PM.
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Old Posted Sep 13, 2020, 6:06 PM
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I've always wondered if Canada could be self-sufficient on Hydro. Could Quebec and NFLD make enough for Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario. And Manitoba and BC, enough for Saskatchewan and Alberta?
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Old Posted Sep 13, 2020, 6:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Truenorth00 View Post
I've always wondered if Canada could be self-sufficient on Hydro. Could Quebec and NFLD make enough for Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario. And Manitoba and BC, enough for Saskatchewan and Alberta?
Atlantic Canada is leery of relying on Quebec for power due to the highway robbery that happened in the past (not just with power but also railways and pretty much any regional service managed out of Quebec or Ontario).

There is an undersea transmission cable from NL to NS that was completed recently. But it has a 500 MW capacity while NS has 3 GW or so of generating capacity. Apparently NS is exporting coal-generated power to NL via the cable, presumably a temporary plan until Muskrat Falls is completed.

Strangely there are also plans for underwater transmission cables from NB or NS to MA to bypass other states that might fight the construction or interfere with the transmission. Another sign that this has more to do with politics or rent-seeking than technological requirements. If not for the politics I think North America would mostly be on nuclear and hydro with a mix of some other renewables.
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Old Posted Sep 13, 2020, 7:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Truenorth00 View Post
I've always wondered if Canada could be self-sufficient on Hydro. Could Quebec and NFLD make enough for Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario. And Manitoba and BC, enough for Saskatchewan and Alberta?
In theory, it is possible. There are significant improvements happening in cross-province transmission, such as the Maritime Transmission Link (Nova Scotia to Newfoundland, completed 2018), the Labrador-Island Transmission Link (Newfoundland to Labrador, completed 2018), and the Birtle Transmission Link (Manitoba to Saskatchewan, scheduled for completion 2021), all of which will improve access to hydro power for the provinces that don't have it.

Alberta is an interesting case. It does have some transmission tie-ins with British Columbia, and in the past, the two were talking about a joint transmission-pipeline corridor for BC's Site C dam, where Alberta would buy power, and run Northern Gateway (now cancelled) along the transmission corridor to BC's coast for oil export. I am doubtful BC would be able to supply Alberta's energy needs fully on hydro, though. Nuclear is a much better option for cleaning emissions in Alberta.
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Old Posted Sep 13, 2020, 7:20 PM
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Canada could, in theory, have one of the cleanest grids in the works while electrifying everything. We have enough hydro potential alone I would think to do this.
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Old Posted Sep 13, 2020, 7:36 PM
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Alberta and Saskatchewan would need the equivalent of a Three Gorges to be powered by Hydro.



Given how much trouble BC is having with Site C, 1/16th of the size of Three Gorges, and the opposition that deferred Quebec's Great Whale Project in the 90s (which will only be that much greater now) I see no reason to think Canada today could ever build that much Hydro today.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2020, 8:41 PM
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A $22B, privately-funded Alberta-Alaska rail corridor, A2A Rail, will soon be approved in the United States at the federal level. This rail line will predominantly be used for the exporting of oil (among other things), and connect Alaska (Anchorage) to Alberta (Fort McMurray), passing through Yukon and Northern BC. It will carry twin tracks the full way through.

There is still a long way to go, starting with environmental assessments in all 3 provinces/territories, but there is progress being made. Engineering and surveying is currently underway in Alberta. If this railway does eventually become realized, it's possible that we will see this evolve into an established energy export corridor. Something like this also has the potential to further open access to O&G developments in the territories, such as at Norman Wells, through spurs in the rail line.

CBC Article



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Old Posted Sep 27, 2020, 9:06 PM
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I would hope the A2A rail goes to Dawson City and connects with the Dawson City - Skagway rail line.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2020, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by itom 987 View Post
I would hope the A2A rail goes to Dawson City and connects with the Dawson City - Skagway rail line.
I don't think there's a Dawson City - Skagway rail line? The White Pass and Yukon terminates at Whitehorse (and the tourist train terminates at Carcross). It's narrow-gauge, so I'm not sure if there's a lot of value in connecting it with what would probably be a standard gauge line.
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Old Posted Sep 28, 2020, 2:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Truenorth00 View Post
Canada could, in theory, have one of the cleanest grids in the works while electrifying everything. We have enough hydro potential alone I would think to do this.
If we wanted to be carbon neutral, the first thing we could do is to replace all fossil fuel plants with nuclear. That would allow some time to build up the wind, solar and hydro, as well as the cross grid transmission lines. You cannot just feed power fro Quebec to Alberta.

The problem is that everyone is scared of nuclear because they do not understand the realities. Both Chernobyl and Fukushima were old plants at the time of their accidents. Also, the reactors Canada uses - CANDU - are designed to fail safe.

Sadly, too many politicians and citizens want a quick change.
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Old Posted Sep 28, 2020, 2:24 AM
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Originally Posted by jamincan View Post
I don't think there's a Dawson City - Skagway rail line? The White Pass and Yukon terminates at Whitehorse (and the tourist train terminates at Carcross). It's narrow-gauge, so I'm not sure if there's a lot of value in connecting it with what would probably be a standard gauge line.
You are probably right about the rail line I was thinking about. A union station would solve the problem of different tracks. Tourists could take the train and see Fort McMurray, Nahanni National Park, and take that tourist train from Carcross to Skagway and back, then head to Whitehorse and take the train all the way to Anchorage. What a trip that would be!
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Old Posted Sep 28, 2020, 3:12 AM
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Originally Posted by swimmer_spe View Post
If we wanted to be carbon neutral, the first thing we could do is to replace all fossil fuel plants with nuclear. That would allow some time to build up the wind, solar and hydro, as well as the cross grid transmission lines. You cannot just feed power fro Quebec to Alberta.

The problem is that everyone is scared of nuclear because they do not understand the realities. Both Chernobyl and Fukushima were old plants at the time of their accidents. Also, the reactors Canada uses - CANDU - are designed to fail safe.

Sadly, too many politicians and citizens want a quick change.
Agreed, nuclear is the answer that nobody wants to acknowledge. There is no feasible way yet to provide a stable baseload for a power grid using wind or solar. Either you have to use hydro, fossil fuels, or nuclear. Considering the vast environmental impact that hydro has, through flooding and the complete changing of ecosystems for reservoir creation, nuclear is the smallest footprint option by a long shot.

One nuclear plant close to the size of Bruce in Alberta could basically solve the entire coal/gas plant problem in the west. Adding some more full-size reactors at Point Lepreau in New Brunswick could eliminate the coal/gas plants in Atlantic Canada. However, this is not the solution people want, unfortunately.
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Old Posted Sep 28, 2020, 3:20 AM
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What about geothermal energy?
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Old Posted Sep 28, 2020, 3:33 AM
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Originally Posted by ericmacm View Post
Agreed, nuclear is the answer that nobody wants to acknowledge. There is no feasible way yet to provide a stable baseload for a power grid using wind or solar. Either you have to use hydro, fossil fuels, or nuclear. Considering the vast environmental impact that hydro has, through flooding and the complete changing of ecosystems for reservoir creation, nuclear is the smallest footprint option by a long shot.

One nuclear plant close to the size of Bruce in Alberta could basically solve the entire coal/gas plant problem in the west. Adding some more full-size reactors at Point Lepreau in New Brunswick could eliminate the coal/gas plants in Atlantic Canada. However, this is not the solution people want, unfortunately.
They don't want it because they are uneducated and scared.

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What about geothermal energy?
Not as much as you might think. We are not like Iceland whee that is a viable option.
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Old Posted Sep 28, 2020, 3:43 AM
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What about geothermal energy?
Geothermal energy is becoming viable on a small-scale basis in Canada. There's a company called Deep Earth Energy Production that is working on a 20 MW plant in Saskatchewan. Small geothermal operations like these are planned to be used to power smaller industrial operations like greenhouses. They plan to build 4 more if the first plant proves to be successful.

In short, it exists, but it's definitely not even remotely suitable for large-scale provincial baseload power. Nuclear and geothermal serve two totally different purposes.
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Old Posted Sep 28, 2020, 6:38 AM
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It's no secret that Alberta has the dirtiest electricity generation in the country, but that's changing very quickly.


Alberta could lead Canada in wind and solar power by 2025, expert says
Another expert isn't anticipating as much growth but agrees with Rystad Energy's forecast direction
CBC News | Sept 21, 2020


Quote:
Growth in Alberta's renewable energy sector should continue its upward trend, experts say, with one forecast anticipating a surge of projects that could have the province poised to be the Canadian leader in utility-scale wind and solar capacity as early as 2025.

Rystad Energy tracks utility-scale wind and solar assets with at least one MWac (megawatt alternating current) in capacity. It forecasts that 83 per cent of the combined utility-scale wind and solar capacity built in Canada over the next five years will be in Alberta. That wouldn't include smaller renewable development such as residential rooftop solar.

With the forecast growth, Rystad analyst Felix Tan expects Alberta will have the largest combined total of utility-scale wind and solar capacity in the country by the middle of the decade, overtaking Ontario.

"Alberta is sort of playing catch up," Tan said in an interview from New York.

"We have seen a lot of capacity build out over the past two, three, four years in places like Ontario, in B.C. and Quebec."

According to the data that Rystad tracks, Alberta's current renewable capacity includes 0.1 gigawatt (GW) of solar and 1.8 GW of wind. By 2025, it expects that to grow to 1.8 GW of solar and 6.5 GW of wind.

Rystad forecasts Ontario will have about 1.8 GW solar and 5.8 GW wind in 2025.

Tan said Alberta's commitment to stop burning coal to generate electricity by 2030 "opens the door" for wind and solar to play a larger role.

He also said the province's deregulated electricity market creates a favourable environment for solar and wind development.

The market allows corporate buyers to enter into contracts with wind and solar generators directly — something a growing number of companies are expected to seek as they look to green their operations.

...
Full story: https://www.theweathernetwork.com/ca...25-expert-says



One of the solar projects, Travers Vulcan Solar Farm, will produce enough electricity to power nearly all of Vulcan County and the entire Lethbridge CMA, with a combined 130,000 people. Very impressive. Construction on the 1.5 million photovoltaic panel facility began in spring and will be done next summer, the largest solar facility in the nation.
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Old Posted Sep 28, 2020, 1:59 PM
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Originally Posted by ericmacm View Post
A $22B, privately-funded Alberta-Alaska rail corridor, A2A Rail, will soon be approved in the United States at the federal level. This rail line will predominantly be used for the exporting of oil (among other things), and connect Alaska (Anchorage) to Alberta (Fort McMurray), passing through Yukon and Northern BC. It will carry twin tracks the full way through.

There is still a long way to go, starting with environmental assessments in all 3 provinces/territories, but there is progress being made. Engineering and surveying is currently underway in Alberta. If this railway does eventually become realized, it's possible that we will see this evolve into an established energy export corridor. Something like this also has the potential to further open access to O&G developments in the territories, such as at Norman Wells, through spurs in the rail line.

CBC Article




Thanks a lot! You've given me inspiration for a Canada fantasy map!

Also, bit of a shame that line skirts around Whitehorse. But do you suppose it would be possible to connect Whitehorse to the rest of Canada using that railroad?
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Old Posted Sep 28, 2020, 3:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericmacm View Post
Geothermal energy is becoming viable on a small-scale basis in Canada. There's a company called Deep Earth Energy Production that is working on a 20 MW plant in Saskatchewan. Small geothermal operations like these are planned to be used to power smaller industrial operations like greenhouses. They plan to build 4 more if the first plant proves to be successful.

In short, it exists, but it's definitely not even remotely suitable for large-scale provincial baseload power. Nuclear and geothermal serve two totally different purposes.
There is also a The deep well closed loop system being developed in Rocky Mountain house, Another in Swan hills and another in Greenview county up near Grande Prairie. The information developed by the O&G sector identifies quite a few places that Geo would work. There is also a study on repurposing orphan wells.

Blatchford Development is using a low temp geo exchange system. 500, 100 meter wells.


As for the A2A I do not think it will get approval any time soon, however I really thing it should run into Whitehorse and maybe along the Alaska highway right of way. Will not see a line up to Dawson.

As for the access to Norman wells they could run a line along the old Canol pipeline route. We will see the all weather road to Norman wells and Inuvik done before that happens though.
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Old Posted Sep 28, 2020, 3:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Gat-Train View Post
Thanks a lot! You've given me inspiration for a Canada fantasy map!

Also, bit of a shame that line skirts around Whitehorse. But do you suppose it would be possible to connect Whitehorse to the rest of Canada using that railroad?
It would be possible, but it would be entirely A2A's decision to link Whitehorse through a spur in the future. Sending a spur line southbound through Whitehorse for exporting in Haines or Prince Rupert would absolutely be viable.

There was another company that was competing with A2A called G7G that had a similar conceptual oil-by-rail plan showing spurs to Haines (through Whitehorse) and Tuktoyaktuk/King Point (through Inuvik). Ultimately, A2A has been getting further with the FN groups in the area (and has now received approval in Alaska), so the G7G plan is essentially dead. I'm sure that A2A also has similar plans for spurs that they would pursue after building the line, but if they have them, they haven't revealed them yet.

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Old Posted Sep 28, 2020, 6:55 PM
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I find it so offensive that in a country with as much water as we have, the world's largest uranium deposits, and the world's longest coastline for wind still has provinces using fossil fuels to create electricity.
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