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:
- Hydro Electricity
- Fossil fuels such as natural gas and oil
- Wind Power
- Solar Panels
- 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.