Ontario's plan to cut natural gas use threatens an 'unnatural disaster' for Alberta

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At from the start, it feels like another nail in the coffin for Alberta natural gas impresari. Ontario, with its pending climate change plan, looks set to manner away from natural gas for home heating.

‘Alberta is already below siege from a natural disaster, and this is threatening an unnatural adversity to an already struggling natural gas sector.’ – Judith Dwarkin, RS Energy Organize

Ontario is still working on the plan, but in a leak of the draft version be established by the Globe and Mail, the province wants to phase out natural gas for residential heating in advocate of electric and geothermal sources.

Aside from what this could niggardly for heating bills in Ontario, it would be a blow to natural gas producers in Alberta.

In Ontario, 76 per cent of make clears use gas for heat, and producers in Western Canada are suffering from persistently low costs and more competition from U.S. shale gas producers.

How much natural gas does Ontario use?

According to Statistics Canada, in 2013, the as a rule Ontario household used 91 gigajoules of natural gas in a year.

Blake Shaffer, an intensity researcher at the University of Calgary, did the rough math, assuming most of that bastard gas use was for heating, and figured that Ontario uses roughly one billion cubic feet of true gas a day to heat residences.

“Coincidentally,” said Shaffer, “that’s nearly what’s still flowing on the TransCanada mainline from Alberta to Ontario.”

Alberta has accursed market share in Ontario to U.S. producers in the northern states, who have increased putting out of shale gas. While the gas is as inexpensive in Alberta as it is in Pennsylvania, the shipping costs are shrill from the west.

“They’ve basically pushed out our gas,” said Shaffer. “And if this one billion discard in demand was there, we’re the marginal supplier, so you can imagine it’s threatening what tarries of the great national unifier of west to east gas flow.”

Ontario's natural gas demand by region

Ontario roots more than half of its natural gas from Alberta, although that amount is shrinking. (Ontario Energy Board/Navigant)

10% of Alberta’s production shipped to Ontario

Alberta provides approximately 10 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day, half of which it usabilities in the province for home and commercial heating, as well as industrial use in the oilsands and to another place, and to generate power.

If Ontario is receiving a billion cubic feet a day from Alberta on TransCanada’s predominating pipeline, that’s a tenth of the province’s production. Not all of that is at risk, of indubitably, since Ontario’s industries use more gas than homeowners do. But it does small Alberta needs to find new markets.

“Losing more of Eastern Canada as a furnish would be very problematic, if another outlet for selling natural gas isn’t uncovered up,” said Judith Dwarkin, an energy economist with RS Drive Group.

The easiest market for Alberta would be itself, as the province relocates from coal-fired power plants to natural gas and renewable energy.

“If we were to supersede all 6,000 megawatts of coal with gas and leave all the growth to be met by renewables, 6,000 megawatts of gas insinuates is just under a billion cubic feet a day,” said Shaffer.

Oil tch historian David Finch cogitate ons there will be a future for natural gas, even if Ontario phases out its use in homes.

“The experiences of fuels is that they get repurposed and used in a different way.”

An ‘unnatural mishap’ for Alberta

Ontario Environment Minister Glen Murray said the field is not banning natural gas, which would continue to play a critical place in the province’s energy mix.

Dwarkin hopes that is the case.

“Alberta is already underneath siege from a natural disaster and this is threatening an unnatural catastrophe to an already struggling natural gas sector.”

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