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Paul on Energy & Utilities asked me a question, anyone have answers... without the politics please. }};-()


Tim

http://boards.fool.com/how-is-it-that-quebecs-hydropower-doe...
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Not an answer to your question but another question. Is Quebec at the limits of its generation capacity or just it's transmission infrastructure?

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/storm_watch_stories3&a...

"Officials expect power consumption to peak at 39,000 megawatts this week, which would beat the previous record of 37, 717 megawatts reported on January 24, 2011.

Hydro Quebec is asking for reduced power usage during these peak hours: "

Dan
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Is Quebec at the limits of its generation capacity or just it's transmission infrastructure?

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/storm_watch_stories3&a......

"Officials expect power consumption to peak at 39,000 megawatts this week, which would beat the previous record of 37, 717 megawatts reported on January 24, 2011.



Yes, Quebec is close to its generation capacity; in fact, we occasionally has to import electricity. Most Quebeckers heat with electricity, as crazy as that seems, since low tariffs make it just as cheap to heat with electricity as with gas. When you get a cold snap like this week (-28.5 C this morning chez nous) consumption spikes up, like it does in Texas when its 40 C. Transmission is not the problem.

Regards, DTM
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Is Quebec at the limits of its generation capacity or just it's transmission infrastructure?

Dan

I suppose using electricity for home heating has its downside besides the obvious cost in most areas? I know a few Nova Scotians that do it but not many.

We switched our Condo building (50 units mostly 2 bdrm and a den) to Nat gas a few years ago. Initially we were told we would break even on the switching cost in two years but our timing was good and we did it in 14 months due to the fall in gas prices. This year we had to raise condo fees for the first time in five years by a paltry $8 a month. I'm not expecting that to last but certainly not complaining while it does.

Tim
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I suppose using electricity for home heating has its downside besides the obvious cost in most areas? I know a few Nova Scotians that do it but not many.


The downside is that it is a waste. Because of the inefficiencies of electricity generation and transmission, you need twice as much gas to make electricity in a gas plant and then sending that to homes to be used for heating, as you do just to burn the gas in your home furnace.

The trouble is, in Quebec, 90% of the province's electricity needs come from hydroelectric power, generated cheaply, so politicians have decided (largely because people want it this way) to keep rates low, and so it is actually cheaper to heat with electricity than with gas, even with today's low gas prices.

It's as though you were the owner of a lumber mill that makes 2 by 4s, and you can take as many as you want, so you decide to heat your house with them. Why not? They're cheap! The answer, obviously, is that you would be better off, as the owner, to sell the 2x4s and buy cheaper firewood.

It's not as though we don't need the extra income.

Regards, DTM
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Thanks for the reply DTM. I didn't think that Quebec was that close to capacity, but peaked my curiousity when I read that article. If it can all be produced by hydro, doesn't seem like crazy idea at all. Some people in Sask even use electricity, that seems crazy to me, but they insist the low initial cost of the furnace-boiler makes up for the extra cost. Haven't been able to work it out myself but then I'm heating with wood now.
Something that has always seemed beyond crazy to me is, in the middle of winter when the power plant beside Saskatoon is running full out. The river is kept open for a distance from all the cooling water dumped into it.
Dan
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It's not as though we don't need the extra income.

Regards, DTM



Yup, while Alberta gets the lowest price in the world for it's oil due to the lack of infrastructure to get it to tidewater we on the east coast pay among the highest prices for oil in the world. }};-()


I thought this was interesting when I posted it yesterday?

Tim

http://boards.fool.com/alberta-explores-its-options-30500418...
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"Yup, while Alberta gets the lowest price in the world for it's oil due to the lack of infrastructure to get it to tidewater we on the east coast pay among the highest prices for oil in the world. }};-()"

Funniest thing is an analyst on the radio the other day couldn't figure out how gas was below a buck a litre out here.

Dan
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I didn't think that Quebec was that close to capacity, but peaked my curiousity when I read that article. If it can all be produced by hydro, doesn't seem like crazy idea at all. Some people in Sask even use electricity, that seems crazy to me, but they insist the low initial cost of the furnace-boiler makes up for the extra cost.

Your interest is right to be piqued, it is certainly surprising that a province so generously endowed with a natural resource would be running short!

As a society, it is crazy for us to use electricity to heat, when gas is available, no matter where the electricity comes from. But as a consumer, it is not so crazy. If you do the math and it comes out cheaper to heat with electricity (that is my situation in Eastern Quebec), then you are in a conundrum. To save money, you would do like I just did, and buy an electric furnace (although most of my heating gets done by burning firewood separately). To save the planet, you pay a bit more and buy propane or heating oil, get accused by your irrational tree-hugging friends of adding CO2 to the environment, and save the electricity for Ontarians who want to close their coal-fired plants. Tough choice!

dtm
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To save the planet, you pay a bit more and buy propane or heating oil, get accused by your irrational tree-hugging friends of adding CO2 to the environment, and save the electricity for Ontarians who want to close their coal-fired plants. Tough choice!

dtm


I seem to recall from the OP article that I linked here that Ontario will have only one small backup coal fired power plant by the end of 2013?

They do have all eight reactors up and running at Bruce so nuclear is now providing 56% (?) of their power needs.

This is interesting. Apparently there are still several potential Hydro sites in Quebec should there be the money and need.


http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Quebec+Premier+Pauli...

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois pushes cheap hydo rates at Davos economic summit

By Sylvain Larocque, The Canadian Press January 23, 2013

DAVOS, Switzerland - Quebec Premier Pauline Marois is hoping to use the prospect of surplus power from Hydo-Quebec to attract investors to the province.

Marois floated the idea on Wednesday after arriving in Switzerland to attend the Davos economic summit.

Marois will take advantage of the annual World Economic Forum to try to persuade political and economic decision-makers to spend in Quebec.

''We want to increase private investment in Quebec,'' she told The Canadian Press. ''It is a major strategy we have already begun implementing.''

And much of that investment is linked to hydroelectricity, according to Marois.

Hydro-Quebec estimates it will have 28.5 terrawatt hours of surplus power available to it by the end of 2020.


There was some talk on the mining board that Quebec is no longer seen as "the best mining jurisdiction in the world" due to talk about raising taxes on operating mines.

Tim
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Hydro-Quebec estimates it will have 28.5 terrawatt hours of surplus power available to it by the end of 2020.


That sounds like a lot, but 28.5 terawatt-hours is only 3250 MW, for a year. Quebec currently had a combined generation capacity of 36,971 MW at the end of 2011, and that is probably about the same now. It has two major projects ongoing, one being the Romaine, for a total of 1550 MW by 2020, and the other is Eastmain-1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert project (catchy name!), which adds another 893 MW, and should be coming online anytime. (If you look on HQ's website, they have some pretty good information, and explanation of the project, with animations, maps, photos, simulations, etc.)

So basically, when Marois says we will have about 3200 MW available to sell, that is because we will be adding 2400 MW over the next few years, to our existing capacity of about 37,000 MW*. That means we currently have only minimal amounts to sell, since most is being used locally.

Interesting stuff.

Regards, DTM

*That 37 GW includes about 3 GW in wind capacity, which only provides 1 GW in actual production, because of the sporadic nature of wind, so this would be the equivalent of about 35 GW of round the clock capacity.
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DTM,

They also have a few smaller projects coming on line at pulp and lumber mills.
I imagine your power demand has dropped off the last few days. We're sitting with a high of -30 today with a brisk wind. Coldest winter in the last 17 yrs so far and only little over half done.

Dan
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They also have a few smaller projects coming on line at pulp and lumber mills.

These are small, not really in the same league as the big projects. For instance, in comparison to the Romaine's 1550 MW or Eastmain-1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert's 893 MW, you have things like Fortress Paper's cogen plants that will add up to 34 MW at Thurso, same thing with Tembec in Temiscaming, for up to 50 MW, and Fortress plans to expand the old cogen plant at Lebel-sur-Quevillon, also with up to 50 MW. HQ has announced other small cogen plants coming online from now to 2016, totalling 150 MW, no bigger than 50 MW each; I'm not certain if the Fortress and Tembec projects are already included in that 150 MW or not. They are very worthwhile, and contribute to making the ailing pulp and paper industry viable, but they don't add up to a lot for export purposes.


I imagine your power demand has dropped off the last few days. We're sitting with a high of -30 today with a brisk wind. Coldest winter in the last 17 yrs so far and only little over half done.

Yes, +10 today where I live and in much of the province, one extreme to another; regularly scheduled programming to resume tomorrow, with -10. Then we just need some more snow, although skiing will still be possible if the rain stops as scheduled.

dtm
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