The Canadian National Energy Board last week issued an Energy Market Assessment (EMA) titled "Outlook for Electricity Markets 2005-2006." The board has found that there will be adequate supply of electricity to meet domestic demand in all Canadian regions in the time frame 2005-2006. However, actions must be taken soon to ensure supply adequacy in the future.

The analysis developed in this EMA leads to the following conclusions:

  • Electricity supply is adequate in all regions during the 2005-2006 period; however, tight supply conditions could emerge as early as 2007.
  • Alternative and renewable resources and demand management are becoming more important in addressing air quality issues and supply adequacy.
  • Market uncertainties could delay timely investment and development of new infrastructure.
  • In all regions, there are forces that will exert upward pressure on electricity prices.
  • Exports and imports continue to benefit Canadians; interprovincial energy transfers should be further explored.
Ken Vollman, chairman of the board said that “in developing the conclusions for this EMA, the board found an opportunity to formulate recommendations in five areas. The recommendations pertain to: policy clarity and predictability; electricity pricing; the need for diversity of generation sources; incentives for alternative and renewable energy; and expansion of east-west interconnections.”

The EMA provides an analysis and discussion of Canadian electricity markets, with an emphasis on the main drivers influencing near-term trends in generation, demand, infrastructure additions, inter-regional and international trade and pricing. The report also includes an update of industry restructuring activities in Canada. While the focus is on the short-term (2005-2006), the report also identifies and discusses current issues that may have longer term effects.

This EMA was undertaken as part of the board's regulatory mandate. The board monitors the Canadian supply of all energy commodities, including electricity, and the demand for Canadian energy commodities in both domestic and export markets. The board also has a mandate to keep the Canadian public informed about energy developments in Canada.