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AESO connects more than 1400 MW to grid in 2014


November 27, 2014 – In 2014, Alberta will have seen a 3.5% increase in electricity demand due to population growth in the cities and energy sector development. Despite the increased pressure on the province’s electricity system as a whole, the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) says the system ran reliably and the pool price remained competitive.

“This year our system continued to see increased demand for the fifth consecutive year, as well as a couple of weather-related incidents that could have really impacted the grid, but our team—as well as generation, distribution and transmission owners—worked to manage that demand and keep Alberta’s system reliable,” said Miranda Keating Erickson, vice-president of operations with AESO.

AESO says it connected over 1400MW of new generation to the system in 2014, more than 2012 and 2013 combined. The majority of generation added this year is fuelled with natural gas; a large portion of that was from the Shepard Energy Centre, which was energized this year and will contribute up to 873MW to the system in the future. The next most-significant source of generation was wind, with 300MW of capacity added from what AESO says is now the largest wind farm in Canada: Blackspring Ridge.

“This was a big year of added generation due to two large-scale projects and really helps when we think about our forecast for generation over the next 20 years, which tells us we will require another 11,900MW by 2034,” Keating Erickson added.

The healthy supply, paired with low natural gas prices this year, affected downward pressure on the wholesale price of electricity. The average price year to-date is $51.76/MWh, down 38% from 2013 when the average price was $80.19/MWh. The 10-year average price is $68/MWh.