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Find out Where Canadian Electricity Comes From

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Canadian Electricity? We are in fact big consumers of electrical power. In fact, when calculated per capita, we’re the fourth largest consumers of electricity in the entire world. Only Iceland, Finland and Norway use more electrical energy per person. And within this country, Albertans consume the second greatest amount of electricity of all the Provinces, second only to Saskatchewan. In total electric kilowatt per hour use per person in homes, however, Alberta comes in number one, at 15,334 kWh per person.

Where Does Canadian Electricity Come From?

The production of electricity is achieved through the turning of a turbine, which requires application of some type of mechanical energy. The energy used to turn the turbine can come from a variety of sources, including:

  • Coal
  • Hydro Electricity
  • Fossil fuels such as natural gas and oil
  • Wind Power
  • Solar Panels
  • Biomass/biogas
  • Nuclear (uranium), and more

Water is King for Most of Canadian Electricity

While Canada is a global leader in hydroelectric production, with nearly 60% of all our electricity coming from water turning those turbines, there’s still a lot of coal being burned to make power, at about 18% of the total. Burning natural gas and oil make up for about 8% of electrical generation nationwide, although in some Provinces, such as Ontario, they’re responsible for the creation of almost 25% of Canadian electricity being produced. This is slightly more than the 22% coming from hydro, but significantly less than the 32% total electricity coming from nuclear power plants in the Province.

Alberta’s Electricity Generation

As of late in 2014, homes, businesses and agricultural operations depended on Alberta’s near-14,600 megawatts (MW) of electrical generation capacity then currently installed. 78,000 MW of this generation capacity has been newly built since 1998. Much more is needed to keep up with the increasing demand.

This power is delivered through a system of approximately 24,000 km of installed transmission lines. About 43% of the electrical generation capacity in the Province comes from the burning of coal. Nearly 40% comes from the use of oil and gas. Because water isn’t nearly as plentiful in Alberta as it is in other locations, only a small amount of hydroelectric generation occurs here. Throughout Canada, different areas depend on difference energy resources to create the mechanical energy responsible for producing electricity. In some areas near the ocean even wave technology is being utilized.

Co-generation and the Environment

Co-generation makes up for almost 1/3 of Alberta’s electric generation capacity, which is both efficient and environmentally sound since the process produces substantially lower greenhouse gases. With co-generation, fuel such as gas or biomass is much more efficiently used since not only is electricity being generated but also heat and/or steam are byproducts that can be used for a variety of purposes, primarily industrial. Alternatively, waste heat generated through various industrial processes can be redeployed to produce electricity. This, too, is quite efficient since this heat would otherwise be wasted.

Other Energy Options in Alberta

The production of electrical energy is a vital service to all Albertans and electrical energy consumption is more common than any other type of energy use, not only on an individual, personal basis but also commercially, industrially and agriculturally. It’s also the most convenient form of energy to use as well as the quickest to deliver to the customer.

Alberta’s policy regarding electric micro-production allows individuals to create their own electricity, often in an environmentally friendly fashion, and even receive credit for any excess electricity produced and sent back to the existing power grid. Here at Civic Recycling we give a thumbs up to anything electric-related that benefits the environment, saves our customers money and makes life just a little bit better.

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Jobs in the Electrical Industry: What’s Available?

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Electrical Industry in Alberta

Canada is currently facing a shortage of workers in certain skilled trades, including jobs in the electrical industry, as many of the individuals now working as skilled electricians are facing retirement. According to one study, the average age for Canada’s skilled electricians is close to 50 years and, as greater numbers of workers leave the trade this will increase demand for new, trained individuals to fill that void. This will be especially true in areas that are experiencing high rates of new construction, such as Alberta.

At the top of the list in 2014’s Canada’s Best Jobs, a job as a licensed, certified electrical contractor can be extremely beneficial. Typical salaries have shown double-digit increases in the last few years, with average journeyman wages now hovering near the $35/per hour mark. After completing a 4-year apprentice program that’s a mixture of classroom and on-the-job (OJT) training, a certified electrician can find work with any number of construction, manufacturing or service companies and make a good living.

If you possess entrepreneurial desires, starting your own one- or two-person electrical company can prove even more profitable, although, as a business owner, take-home salaries will vary. For those wanting to get employment as a certified electrician with an established firm, there are positions available across the country, many of which offer great benefits such as retirement, medical/dental, vision, online education/development reimbursement, employee discounts and more.


 

Canada’s Aging Electric Infrastructure Spells Opportunity

The occupation of an industrial electrician is one of the listings on the POL, or Canadian Priority Occupation List, which details occupations currently deemed in high demand by the Canadian government due to a national shortage of skilled workers now available. By all accounts, those possessing the necessary qualifications should continue to be in demand as The Canadian Electricity Association’s Vision 2050 brings to light the need for sweeping upgrades in the nation’s aging electric system.

These ongoing upgrades, which it’s now apparent are vitally important if the electric producers/distributors are going to be able to keep up with ever-increasing user demand, requires the skills of trained electric workers.

Industrial Electrician Specialization Options

Those opting for a career in the electric industry have lots of choices, however, with an industrial electrician on the government’s Priority Occupations List, this has become a popular option. With a median income of more than $66,000 and, according to Canadian Business Magazine, a wage and employment growth in the next five years estimated at 14% and 22% respectively, industrial electricians are needed and paid well for their contribution to the skilled workforce.


 

Jobs in the Electrical Industry by Position

Some of the many positions held by industrial electricians include work in:

  • Shipyards or other marine environments
  • Aviation
  • Electric power production and delivery
  • Mills
  • Manufacturing plants
  • Mines
  • Oil and gas exploration and recovery, and more

As a trained electrician, you should possess the ability to install, maintain, repair and test all types of electric systems, including electronic control units, transformers, generators, regulators, switchgear, etc. You should also be capable of reading and interpreting blueprints, drawings, schematics and specifications set out by the code. This is just a small part of what may be required of an industrial engineer. Someone in this position may also be required to institute a comprehensive preventative maintenance program and to maintain accurate records reflecting all maintenance work done.

With so many additional facets making up today’s national electric system, including renewable resource development and new requirements for efficiency and sustainability, employment within the industry seems a sure bet. Here at Civic Recycling we employ certified electricians for our own testing and production requirements. The need for this type of skilled worker shouldn’t go away.

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ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT AND FLOODS, WHAT TO DO?

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We know that water and electrical equipment don’t mix well. But what happens when circumstances beyond our control get in the way of a functioning electricity grid?

Civic Recycling was on the front lines of the 2013 flood in Calgary. We helped a countless number of businesses get back online after the water ruined electrical equipment such as breakers, motors, transformers and fuses. We are proud to be there for Canadians in the tough times and at all times of the year.

Floods and Electrical Equipment

So what do you do if you find yourself in a flood situation? Wether its a sewer backup, huge rainfall in your area or a more widespread catastrophe like in 2013…you should know how to stay safe when returning to your home. Read how to Minimize Electrical Hazards Before and After a Flood.

“Moisture, debris and contaminants in flood-damaged equipment or appliances can sometimes be hidden and cause serious risks.”

For more safety tips read more from Municipal Affairs Alberta: Electrical Tips for Returning to Your Home or Business After a Flood

“The inspection of your electric service begins at the service entrance and proceeds through the meter base, main switch panelboards and branch circuit breakers. This basic equipment must be safe before reconnecting the power. Electric circuit breakers, GFCIs, and fuses that have been submerged must also be replaced. Water and silt inside the devices can prevent them from performing properly as safety devices and can cause electrical shorts or mechanical malfunctions.”

The British Columbia Safety Authority also released a great PDF on post flood protocol: Emergency Flood Protocol for Re-Energizing Electrical and Gas Equipment

“For customer services, the breakers only need replacement if the rest of the panel has been cleaned, dried, connections redone, and has been meggared clear to ground. Note that wetted molded-case circuit breakers cannot be reused.”

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The Electric Labour Market in Canada (EHRC)

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What does the Electric Labour Market look like? The following article from www.electricityhr.ca is a great resource on labour market information in the Canadian electrical industry.

Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) is looking to bring together employers, government, labour, educational institutions and other interested stakeholders to address the need for current and accurate labour market intelligence (LMI) for the Canadian electricity sector.

Electric Labour Market Intelligence in Canada

www.electricityhr.ca/our-solutions/labour-market-intelligence/

 


 

 

Read an excerpt from the article:

2015 Labour Market Intelligence for the Canadian Electricity Industry

The program was begun in response to industry demand for more rapid and responsive workforce planning data for use in regulatory filing and for organizational business planning, both on the demand (employers) and supply (educators) side. It also provides government stakeholders with validated data to assist in the development of policy at the municipal, provincial or federal level.

Stakeholders in Canada’s electricity industry face multiple human resources challenges as they plan for the next five to ten years. Some challenges are familiar (e.g. retirements and competition with other industries), others are new (e.g. hiring and training staff for large, renewable and refurbishment projects), and the pace of change and technological innovation continues to accelerate. Challenges vary by region, sector and occupation. Consistent, comprehensive and credible analysis is essential to draw practical insights and guide human resource management.

In order to maintain the integrity of the data published and provide accurate and timely information to our stakeholders it is critical that our LMI data – independent, industry specific, and targeted toward the human resources function – remains current.

Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) is looking to bring together employers, government, labour, educational institutions and other interested stakeholders to address the need for current and accurate labour market intelligence (LMI) for the Canadian electricity sector. The data collected for the 2015 LMI study will provide the industry with information on the most up to date issues and statistics impacting on the sector, and the subsequent implications on the skilled labour supply-demand gap.

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Powering the Future of Canadian Electricity

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The Canadian Electricity Association released a fantastic report that outlines the Canadian energy strategy and the role of electricity. The report gives a series of seven recommendations and continues into infrastructure investment, diversification and powering the future of innovation in the industry.

“Electricity is the backbone of Canada’s energy system, powering our economy as well as our homes, offices and lifestyles. It is the engine of economic growth for manufacturing, mining, energy and industries across the country. A balanced Canadian energy strategy needs to emphasize the role of electricity.”

Powering the Future of Canadian Electricity

“Electricity is essential to our lives at home and at work, and to our prosperity as a nation. Canada’s sophisticated and reliable electricity system has attracted investment and given Canadian industries a competitive advantage by delivering clean and affordable electricity. It is also a sector that supports 108,000 jobs in communities across the country. Electricity is an enabler for every other sector in the economy and an essential input for growth in energy, manufacturing, mining and emerging clean technology sectors”

For the full report click here:

www.electricity.ca/media/ReportsPublications/PowerForTheFutureElectricityRoleCanadianEnergyStrategyE.pdf

 


 

In our past blog post we talked about the 6 part commitment to renew Canada’s electricity system called Vision 2050. The Future of Canada’s Electricity System is important to the Canadian economy as well as Civic Recycling. We have been Powering the Future since 1995.

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One Small Step for Civic Recycling

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Small Step for Civic Recycling Online

Our new website? One small step for Civic Recycling – one giant giant step for our customers! Since 1995, Civic Recycling has developed an excellent reputation as a supplier of new, used and reconditioned electrical equipment, and we continue to grow and expand. Our 7,500 square foot warehouse is overflowing with the best deals on electric parts in Canada, and … drum roll please … we’re excited to launch our new website! Have a look around; let us know what you think.

Our new site is a big milestone and really reflects our journey over the last several years. Our roots remain in ensuring our customers are 100% satisfed with uncompromising product quality, delivery and the largest selection of breakers anywhere in Canada.
Thanks for being our customer.
Scott Wearmouth
General Manager
Civic Recycling

June is National Electricity Month (Updated)

June is National Electricity Month Canada Civic Recyling Canadian Electricity Association

As the national voice of the electricity industry in Canada, the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) has designated June as National Electricity Month for the second consecutive year. In communities all across the country, CEA member utilities will be opening the doors of their facilities to the public, offering tours and answering questions about how the electricity system works.

Some of the electric utilities that have activities planned for National Electricity Month include:
• AltaLink
• BC Hydro and Power Authority
• Capital Power Corporation
• ENMAX Corporation
• FortisAlberta Inc.
• Manitoba Hydro
• Nalcor Energy
• New Brunswick Power Holding Company
• Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro
• Horizon Utilities Corporation
• Hydro Ottawa Holding Inc.
• Saint John Energy
• SaskPower
• Yukon Energy Corporation

June is National Electricity Month

For more on National Electricity month and a quick video visit this link: http://powerforthefuture.ca/national-electricity-month/

By allowing consumers to see how the system works first-hand, CEA hopes to foster a national conversation on the value of electricity, stimulating and informing the discussion about the choices that need to be made today if Canada is to maintain a reliable, affordable, and sustainable electricity grid.


 

Want to learn more about participating utilities?

http://powerforthefuture.ca/participating-utilities/


 

 

Looking to discover more about electricity across Canada? Utilize the information from Power For the Future and their “Virtual Open House” Feature page:

http://powerforthefuture.ca/virtual-open-house/


 

 

Tomorrow’s economy will be built on a solid foundation of clean, sustainable growth. Growth that will drive new technologies; increase productivity; and create jobs for Canadians. Growth that will be powered by safe, reliable, sustainable Canadian Electricity.

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