Resource extraction responsible for high energy-intensity of Alberta, Saskatchewan economies

Burning natural gas in petroleum, mining industries causes higher greenhouse gas emissions

New provincial and territorial energy profiles from the National Energy Board show that half of Canada’s energy is consumed by industry. Alberta and Saskatchewan have the highest energy intensity and highest consumption per capita, primarily due to energy intensive resource extraction.

Alberta.

The effect of these industries is clear for Alberta and Saskatchewan, where end-use energy intensity is nearly double the national average, driven largely by industrial use of natural gas.

In central Canada, by comparison, the manufacturing and service sectors produce more economic output per unit of energy than the resource extraction industry does.

For example, Ontario is the second largest end-use energy consumer in Canada; however, it ranks near the bottom (eleventh) for energy intensity.

The National Energy Board recently released a new product: Provincial and Territorial Energy Profiles. These profiles provide insights into how our country produces, uses, and trades energy.

Close to half of Canada’s total end-use energy demand comes from the industrial sector.

End-use, or secondary energy demand is energy that is used by final consumers. It excludes the energy used to generate electricity, which is included in primary energy, or energy used in the production of goods (that is, as a petrochemical feedstock).

The different types and sizes of industry in each province or territory are key factors for total end-use energy demand and energy intensity.

Energy intensity is the amount of energy required to produce one unit of economic output or activity. The energy used can be compared to gross domestic product (GDP). Energy use can also be compared to the size of the population to calculate energy use per capita. These figures show how Canadians use energy every day.

Alberta.

Alberta profile:

Total Energy Consumption

  • End-use demand in Alberta was 3 630 petajoules (PJ) in 2015. The largest sector for energy demand was industrial at 73% of total demand, followed by transportation at 13%, commercial at 8%, and residential at 6% (Figure 6). Alberta’s total energy demand was the largest in Canada, and the largest on a per capita basis.
  • Natural gas was the largest fuel type consumed in Alberta, accounting for 1 896 PJ, or 52%. RPPs and electricity accounted for 1 346 PJ (37%) and 280 PJ (8%), respectively.

GHG Emissions

  • Alberta’s GHG emissions in 2015 were 274.1 megatonnes (MT) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Alberta’s emissions have increased 56% since 1990.
  • Alberta’s emissions per capita are the 2nd highest in Canada at 65.6 tonnes CO2e – more than three times the national average of 20.1 tonnes per capita.
  • The largest emitting sectors in Alberta are oil and gas production at 48% of emissions, electricity generation at 17%, and transportation at 12%.
  • Alberta’s GHG emissions from the oil and gas sector in 2015 were 132.3 MT CO2e. Of this total, 126.8 MT were attributable to production, processing, and transmission and 3.4 MT were attributable to petroleum refining and natural gas distribution.
  • Alberta’s electricity sector produces more GHG emissions than any other province because of its size and reliance on coal-fired generation. In 2015, Alberta’s power sector generated 46.1 MT CO2e emissions, or 57% of total Canadian GHG emissions from power generation.

British Columbia profile:

Total Energy Consumption

  • End-use demand in B.C. was 1 168 petajoules (PJ) in 2015. The largest sector for energy demand was industrial at 48% of total demand, followed by transportation at 29%, residential at 13%, and commercial at 11%. B.C.’s total energy demand was the fourth largest in Canada, but the sixth largest on a per capita basis.
  • Refined petroleum products, including gasoline and diesel, were the largest fuel-type consumed in B.C., accounting for 431 PJ, or 37%. Natural gas, electricity and biofuels accounted for 355 PJ (30%), 193 PJ (17%) and 182 PJ (16%), respectively. B.C. is the largest biofuels consumer in Canada   in absolute and in percentage terms   primarily because of its large forestry sector that generates electricity from waste wood.

GHG Emissions

  • B.C.’s GHG emissions in 2015 were 60.9 megatonnes (MT) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Emissions have increased 17% since 1990.Footnote1
  • B.C.’s emissions per capita are one of the lowest in Canada, at 12.8 tonnes of CO2e – 36% below the national average of 20.1 tonnes per capita.
  • The largest emitting sectors in B.C. are transportation at 37% of emissions, oil and gas at 22%, and buildings (residential and commercial) at 12%.
  • B.C.’s GHG emissions from the oil and gas sector in 2015 were 13.7 MT CO2e. Of this total, 12.9 MT were attributable to production, processing, and transmission and 0.8 MT were attributable to petroleum refining and natural gas distribution.
  • About 98% of the electricity produced in B.C. comes from renewable sources. In 2015, B.C.’s power sector generated 0.4 MT CO2e emissions, which represents 0.5% of Canada’s total GHG emissions from power generation.

Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan profile:

Total Energy Consumption

  • End-use demand in Saskatchewan was 687 petajoules (PJ) in 2015. The largest sector for energy demand was industrial at 60% of total demand, followed by transportation at 20%, commercial at 13%, and residential at 7%. Saskatchewan’s total energy demand was the 5th largest in Canada, and the 2nd largest on a per capita basis.
  • Natural gas was the largest fuel type consumed in Saskatchewan, accounting for 344 PJ, or 50%. RPPs and electricity accounted for 257 PJ (38%) and 77 PJ (11%), respectively.

GHG Emissions

  • Saskatchewan’s GHG emissions in 2015 were 75.0 MT of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Saskatchewan’s emissions have increased 66% since 1990.Footnote1
  • Saskatchewan’s emissions per capita are the highest in Canada at 66.2 tonnes of CO2e – 229% above the national average of 20.1 tonnes per capita.
  • The largest emitting sectors in Saskatchewan are oil and gas production at 32% of emissions, agriculture at 24%, and electricity generation at 19%.
  • Saskatchewan’s GHG emissions from the oil and gas sector in 2015 were 24.1 MT CO2e. Of this total, 22.0 MT were attributable to production, processing, and transmission and 2.1 MT were attributable to petroleum refining and natural gas distribution.
  • Saskatchewan’s electricity sector produces the second highest amount of GHG emissions after Alberta, primarily because of its reliance on coal-fired generation. In 2015, Saskatchewan’s power sector emitted 14.6 MT CO2e emissions, or 18% of total Canadian GHG emissions from power generation.

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