Market Snapshot: 2015 a Record-Setting Year for Canadian Electricity Exports

Market Snapshot: 2015 a Record-Setting Year for Canadian Electricity Exports

Canadian electricity exports surpassed previous records in 2015, with net export volumes of almost 60 terawatt hours (TW.h) and net export revenues of $2.8 billion.

Increasing exports and decreasing imports pushed the volume of 2015 net exports over the previous 52 TW.h record set in 2013. Imports from the U.S. fell below 9 TW.h in 2015, the lowest amount in almost 20 years. Exports surpassed 68 TW.h, a 17% increase over 2014. Overall, Canada’s net electricity exports increased by over 14 TW.h and were 30% higher in 2015 than in 2014.

Canada also earned 20% more in net revenue (i.e., income from exports minus the cost of the imports) in 2015 compared to 2014. In fact, 2015 net revenues surpassed the previous record of $2.5 billion set in 2008.

Québec, Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia (B.C.) account for more than 95% of Canadian electricity export volumes. More than half of the 2015 increase in net exports can be attributed to a 7.4 TW.h increase in net exports from B.C., which also strategically buys and sells electricity to maximize revenue. Aside from BC, the other main contributor to increased Canadian net exports was Ontario, which added 3.6 TW.h.

Several factors led to the 2015 increase in Canadian exports. Droughts in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and California reduced hydro generation in these areas, while cold temperatures in the U.S. Northeast increased demand for electricity in that region. Relatively high U.S. prices compared to Canadian prices also supported increased exports.

Source: National Energy Board, https://www.neb-one.gc.ca/nrg/ntgrtd/mrkt/snpsht/2016/03-03lctrctxprt-eng.html.

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