Electricity Facts

As of August 2015, Alberta has 16,242 megawatts (MW) of installed electricity generation capacity as well as of 26,000 kilometres of transmission lines. Together, this system continuously delivers electricity to homes, farms and businesses in every corner of the province.

As of August 2015, about 38 per cent of Alberta’s installed electricity generation capacity is from coal and almost 44 per cent from natural gas. Alberta also uses water, wind, biomass and waste heat as forms of electricity generation.

Over 9,000 MW of new generation facilities have been built in Alberta since 1998.

Livestock manure is currently being used for biomass power generation at one facility in Alberta.

Alberta’s micro-generation policy makes it easier for individual Albertans to generate their own environmentally-friendly electricity and allows them to receive credit for any power they don’t use and send to the electricity grid. This gives Albertans more options when it comes to managing their electricity needs.

As of December 2014, Alberta has over 4,600 MW of cogeneration (30 per cent of the total installed generation capacity).  Economically speaking, cogeneration makes considerably more efficient use of an input fuel such as natural gas or biomass to simultaneously generate both electricity and steam/heat for industrial process.  Cogeneration is also environmentally efficient as it substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Electric vehicles are propelled by an electric motor and consume the electric energy they store in their batteries.  Electric vehicles could be environmentally more beneficial compared to vehicles using internal combustion technology that burns onboard fuels like gasoline.  The degree at which electric vehicles can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions depends on the type of ‘fuel’ (like coal, natural gas, oil products, hydro, wind, biomass, etc.) used to generate the electricity that charges their batteries.  Electric vehicles wouldn’t be emission free if the electricity they use was generated mainly or partially from burning fossil fuels like coal, oil products or natural gas.

Access to reliable electricity is important to all Albertans.  It is an essential service and most common type of energy we consume at the individual level as well as in the commercial, industrial and agricultural sectors.  It is the most convenient type of energy we consume in our everyday lives and is the fastest type of energy to supply to consumers.

If you had a lightbulb on the moon, connected to a switch in your home, it would take only 1.3 seconds for that bulb to light up over 380,000 kilometres away.

Much of the electrical terminology used today comes from the names of the scientists who made electric breakthroughs, such as: James Watt, Alessandro Volta, Andre Marie Ampere, and James Joule.