Coal is an abundant resource in Alberta, one that's relatively easy to extract and relies on technology and infrastructure that's well established in our province. As a result, it has played a predominant role in Alberta's energy mix for many decades.
Approximately 82 per cent of ENMAX Energy's generation capacity is fueled by coal, 12 per cent from natural gas and six per cent from renewables such as wind and solar, including the Taber and Kettles Hill wind farms, which are 100 per cent owned by ENMAX Energy.
In 2012, the Federal Government passed regulations requiring carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) on all new coal-fired plants coming online after July 2015. Existing coal-fired generation plants, must reduce emissions, within 45-50 years, to that of a combined-cycle natural gas plant or close. As a result it is anticipated that coal plants in the province will begin to retire in 2019. At the same time, the power purchase arrangements (PPAs) that ENMAX Energy has for coal generation will expire at the end of 2020 reducing 1,100 megawatts of coal supply out of ENMAX's portfolio.
Nonetheless, coal will remain an important part of Alberta's energy mix for years to come, the last coal plant will not be required to meet these requirements until 2061. While coal plants continue to operate in Alberta, ENMAX may contract for further electricity supply from these facilities. However, our current focus is on developing new natural gas-fired generation.
Our plan is to continue to provide safe and reliable power to our customers, while reducing the GHG emissions of our generation portfolio by continuing to increase our natural gas-fired generation. In 2015, the Shepard Energy Centre (SEC) came online. The SEC is an 800 megawatt (MW) natural gas-fired generation plant located on a 60 acre site on the east side of Calgary in the Shepard Industrial Park, construction began in 2011. In 2012, Capital Power agreed to purchase a 50 per cent interest in the SEC and enter into a joint venture agreement with ENMAX Energy Corporation to construct. By using natural gas, Shepard will produce less than half the carbon dioxide per MW than a conventional coal plant.
Rob Hemstock, EVP Regulatory and Legal Services
All customers are free to purchase natural gas services from the default supply provider or from a retailer of their choice and to purchase electricity services from the regulated rate provider or from a retailer of their choice. The delivery of natural gas and electricity to you is not affected by your choice. If you change who you purchase natural gas services or electricity services from, you will continue receiving natural gas and electricity from the distribution company in your service area. For a current list of retailers you may choose from, visit www.ucahelps.alberta.ca or call 310-4822 (toll free in Alberta).
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