Emissions Intensity of Alberta's Power Sector to Fall by 50% by 2050: Study

- The open power market's move to natural gas and wind generation will improve the sector's emissions performance

CALGARY, May 16, 2013 /CNW/ - The Independent Power Producers Society of Alberta (IPPSA) today released a study into the power sector's expected CO2 emissions by 2050.  The study, Trends in GHG Emissions in the Alberta Electricity Market, was prepared for IPPSA by EDC Associates, a leading power sector consultancy.   Of the findings:

  • Alberta's electricity demand will grow steadily and relatively strongly over the forecast period, requiring a doubling of the electricity fleet from 15,000 megawatts (MW) in 2013 to 30,000 MW by 2050.
  • Power plant economics, along with the federal coal regulation, will see developers replace coal-fired generation with lower-emitting natural gas fired generation.
  • Investment in zero-emission wind generation is expected to continue to grow and account for roughly 15% of the fleet.
  • From 2013 to 2050, the emissions intensity of Alberta's electricity sector is forecast to fall by 50%.  (Emissions intensity is the amount of CO2 produced per megawatt hour of electricity.)
  • Gross megatonnes (MT) of CO2 emitted by the power sector are expected to fall by 2030, as retiring coal units are replaced with gas-fired generation.
  • However, by 2050 gross emissions will increase by 8 MT or 7% from 2013 levels due to growing demand for power.  From 2013 to 2050, Alberta's total power supply is expected to increase by 100% to meet demand.

"Alberta's open power market is doing a significant job of reducing emission by switching to cleaner-burning natural gas and zero-emission wind power," states IPPSA's Executive Director Evan Bahry.

The study notes that Alberta will remain reliant on the combustion of hydrocarbons to produce electricity for the foreseeable future.    Expectations of how low emissions can go within Alberta's power sector need to keep that reality in mind, along with expected demand growth.   The study takes into account the current emissions regulatory framework and existing generation technology.

The study is available at www.ippsa.com


For further information:

Evan Bahry at 403-282-8811 or 403-669-8664.

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