Rising electricity rates are becoming more common in Alberta. If you are not locked in with your rate chances are your bills surprised you this winter. In the last 3 years we have experienced swings from 0.04 to 0.16 cents. That is a 300% range of volatility.
Why is this happening?
To answer this question we first need to understand how we get our power. In the past Alberta’s primary energy source has been from coal and natural gas. Coal, when not considering the cost to the environment and to public health, is one of the cheapest and consistent power generating sources costing around $18 per MWH in 2016. For reference winds intermittent power has averaged around $48 per MWH. However renewable energy costs have been decreasing dramatically year after year and is expected to continue on this trend.
One reason we see market volatility is Alberta’s goal to become net zero for carbon emissions in the energy generation sector by 2035(CBC,2022). The first stage for Alberta’s net zero goal is to start the reduction of carbon emissions. Alberta will accomplish this by first removing one of the leading contributors to CO2 emissions coal power generation. By the end of 2023 all major coal power production will be removed or transitioned to natural gas plants. This is a huge accomplishment for Alberta and to complete it in a short period of time as well.
As a society what can we do about it?
With more intermittent power generation from renewable sources and transitioning our existing infrastructure the market is reflecting these transitions. As our usage of renewable energy matures we will inevitably innovate ways of offsetting the intermittent generation of renewables. Some innovative solutions required for this are energy storage solutions like batteries or the creation and storage of hydrogen to be then burned later to provide power. Both allow for the storage of energy when renewables are at peak generation.
How and when we use our electrical energy will influence our prices. Our culture needs to adapt to our changing infrastructure. By offsetting when we use our electricity over the day we can actually contribute to lowering rates in the market. If we as a collective work together to change when we decide to do laundry, turn on the dishwasher or when to charge our electric vehicles we can greatly reduce the strain on our system.
As a homeowner how can solar help against changing rates?
By generating the power you require yourself, homeowners can limit their own risk when rates inevitably increase. Energy costs will naturally rise with inflation, transmission fees, and many other factors regardless of where we get our energy from. Think of it as an insurance policy that sits on your roof that generates power day after day. An insurance policy with federal grants and even some municipal grants depending on where you are located. They help contribute to the sustainability of the grid when grid-tied and help remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Not only does helping the environment feel good but you can save on every future energy bill you get moving forward.
How we can help
Dandelion Renewables contributes to the planet’s sustainable energy future by offering healthy environmental solutions. We aim to reduce the carbon footprints of our clients and offer an opportunity to save on their electricity bills with the increase in Alberta’s electricity rates. We are proud to be one of the top-rated solar and renewable energy contractors in Western Canada. Contact us for more information. Check out our latest blog post on the Greener Homes program.
CBC/Radio Canada. (2022, February 4). Opinion | Alberta steps closer to ending coal power, faster than many expected. but then comes the hard part | CBC news. CBCnews. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/opinion-alberta-end-coal-power-natural-gas-solar-wind-nuclear-1.6300606
Historical Alberta fixed & floating rate prices. EnergyRates.ca. (2020, March 22). Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://energyrates.ca/alberta-electricity-rates-graph/