Market Snapshot: Of nearly 50 companies that export electricity, three account for more than half of all exports in 2019

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Release date: 2020-01-08

Around 50 companies have permits from the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) to export electricity from Canada. Canadian generators, their subsidiaries, and other companies all export electricity to the U.S.Footnote 1 In 2010, 54 companies sold 44 terawatt-hours (TW.h) of electricity to U.S. markets. In 2019, as of October, nearly 50 companies sold 50 TW.h.Footnote 2 Figure 1 shows the volumes exported by each company. The largest exporters tend to be provincial crown corporations that also generate electricity, such as Hydro Québec or Manitoba Hydro, or their subsidiaries, such as Powerex Corp. (a subsidiary of BC Hydro).

In general, companies export electricity to the U.S. when prices are higher. The relatively large number of Canadian entities exporting electricity to the U.S. relies on significant integration between Canadian and U.S. electricity markets. Canadian electricity trade with U.S. markets is greater than provincial trade.

Figure 1. Canadian electricity exports to the U.S. by company

Source and Description

Source: CER

Description: The bars show the volume of electricity exported (sold) to the U.S., by company, from 2010 to the end of October 2019. The electricity total export volumes shown include 44 TW.h in 2010, 68 TW.h in 2015, and 50 TW.h from January to October 2019.

The line shows the number of companies that exported electricity from Canada each year from 2010 to the end of October 2019. An average of around 50 companies export electricity each year, including partial data in 2019. In most years, in terms of volume, the top three electricity exporting companies include Hydro Québec, Powerex, and Manitoba Hydro. There were 54 exporting companies in 2010, 49 in 2015, and 49 from January to October 2019.

Figure 2 breaks down electricity exports to the U.S. by province. Most of Canada’s electricity is exported from provinces with significant hydro and/or nuclear generation capacity. Over 70% of exports are from Quebec and Ontario alone. Electricity trade data, including volumes exported by company and province, are published by the CER in  Commodity Statistics.

Figure 2. Electricity export shares by province (2019)

Source and Description

Source: Commodity Tracking System (CTS)

Description: This pie chart shows Canadian electricity exports by province of origin, from January to October 2019. Electricity was exported in the following proportions: Quebec (44%), Ontario (28%), Manitoba (13%), British Columbia (10%), New Brunswick (2%), Newfoundland and Labrador (2%), Alberta (1%), Saskatchewan (0%), and Nova Scotia (0%).

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