Charts assume average annual energy use of 97 GJ/year (equal to average Union Gas residential customer’s use of 2,600 m3 of natural gas/year). Natural gas costs include commodity, delivery, transportation and storage charges/fees to Dec. 31, 2012. Electricity costs include commodity, service, distribution, debt retirement and non-competition energy charges, and the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit rebate of 10% to Dec. 31, 2012. Derived oil and propane costs include commodity and delivery fees based on University of Guelph estimates.
Canada has so much potential in the world’s natural gas future. Even at current consumption rates (including exports to the U.S.) it’s estimated our country has enough gas to last for over 100 years.
But where is it exactly?
There are numerous unconventional gas deposits already being explored – the Bakken formation in Saskatchewan, the Horn River basin between Alberta and B.C., as well as the Marcellus Shale which extends into Eastern Canada. Here’s a profile of the natural gas we possess across the country:
There’s an estimated 1,000 trillion cubic feet of unconventional gas beneath the Horn, Laird and Montney river basins in Northeastern B.C. That’s about 500 times the total annual gas production (conventional and unconventional) Alberta exports each year. Saskatchewan is also considered to have huge potential natural gas reserves, and is providing financial incentives to encourage its extraction. However, Alberta remains the conventional energy leader; producing 70 per cent of the country’s production. Plus, with over 167,000 unconventional wells drilled in the last 50 years, the province has a lot of experience in unconventional gas development. For all intents and purposes, the West is Canada’s energy epicentre. But the East is coming along.
Although the geology of southern Ontario is similar to the northeastern U.S., there are no indications of significant reserves. Quebec has also experienced limited exploration. New Brunswick, however, has been the subject of much interest for exploration companies. Governments in all three provinces are studying how to best extract natural gas safely and cost efficiently, while keeping the environment a top priority and also considering their legal duty to First Nations in areas of interest. However, the Marcellus Shale gas formation in New York and Pennsylvania mean these eastern provinces will never want for clean, affordable and reliable natural gas.
Have views on Canada’s natural gas reserves? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Over the past several weeks, the GTA has seen some interesting weather. From heat waves to violent storms, we’ve seen quite a bit of it and it’s putting pressure on our energy systems. It’s becoming clearer every day that the province needs a reliable and affordable solution for our energy needs, especially when we need it most. Our own Matthew Gibson shared with the Toronto Sun why natural gas should be part of our long-term energy plan. See the link below to read his article in full: http://www.torontosun.com/2013/07/24/long-term-energy-plan-is-necessary
Despite even our best efforts to conserve energy, the relentless demand for it will continue to rise. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do it cleaner than coal-fired electricity generation. Canadian Environmental Protection Act regulations (which take effect July, 2015) dictate that existing coal-fired plants must meet certain carbon dioxide standards.
If they can’t, they’ve got to go.
Enter natural gas. It has already been assuming its rightful place; expected to grow in Canada to 15 per cent of our energy mix. It’s already been making great reductions to Ontario’s emissions of greenhouse gases and airborne particulate matter. But not only is it clean, affordable and reliable – conversion from coal power brings economic activity.
Canadian power utilities are expected to create $347.5 billion in generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure over the next two decades (or an average of $13 billion per year). This will contribute $10.9 billion to Canada’s GDP and support 156,000 jobs each and every year. Natural gas electricity generation is expected to grow to 8,900 megawatts (effectively doubling current levels), the majority of it split between Alberta and Ontario, with smaller amounts in other provinces.
To complement our energy mix diversity, there will be new investments in wind power and nuclear. Natural gas’ role will be as a scalable, rational “bridging” energy source, working flexibly with these renewable – though sometimes unreliable – energy sources. When they can’t produce what a city needs, natural gas can always be called on to do the job.
But that’s at the very heart of natural gas: clean, reliable, and abundant. Its flexibility has wide-ranging, positive implications for consumers, manufacturing and transportation. Converting creates jobs and a better standard of living for us all.
We look forward to a more diverse power mix. How about you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Faromor Energy Solutions is a manufacturer that prides itself on being progressive and innovative. Residing just east of Shakespeare, Ontario, near Kitchener, the company continues to live up to its green reputation by installing its own compressed natural gas fueling station for its fleet of vehicles. Faromor sales engineer Nick Hendry says that the fueling station is “the first one that’s been built in Ontario in quite a while,” and that the entire process only took three months. Hendry adds that with the fleet of running on natural gas, every vehicle saves about $5,000 per year on fuel. Beyond just the economic benefits for Faromor Energy Solutions, the switch is contributing to a cleaner Ontario.
Should other companies follow suit and consider investing in their own compressed natural gas fueling station? Let us know what you think in the comments below.