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BMI View: Growth in the Canadian power sector will be driven by the
implementation of a vast pipeline of hydropower projects, as well as political
commitment to increasing the role of renewables and natural gas in the
electricity mix. Weak growth in power consumption - compounded by the slump in
oil prices - will limit renewables investment opportunities outside of public
incentive schemes, but we see upside potential from ambitious renewables plans
in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Latest Updates And Structural Trends
-The government of Ontario is progressing in the partial privatisation process
of public utility Hydro One. In April 2016, the government sold a second tranche
of shares of the utility, bringing the total sold to 30%. According to the
operation's manager, the sale of 60% of the company (the government's
privatisation target) should be completed before the next provincial elections
in 2018. The IPO for the company had been launched in November 2015.
-Details on Ontario's climate change action plan were released in May. Ontario's
government will reportedly spend CAD7bn between 2017 and 2021 in a number of
initiatives intended to reduce CO2 emissions in the province, with a focus on
the transportation sector and buildings. A cap-and-trade system is part of the
plan, which aims to cut emissions to 15% below 1990 levels by 2020, 37% by 2030
and 80% by 2050.
-As part of its strategy to phase-out coal power generation by 2030 and boost
renewables in the province, the government of Alberta is expected to release the
schedule for the retirement of coal-fired power plants over the coming months.
The Alberta Electric System Operator has submitted an implementation plan to the
provincial government, and is planning to hold a first procurement auction
before the end of 2016. We are waiting for more clarity on the government's plan
- particularly in terms of the coal plants' retirement schedule - before
including it in our forecast for the Canadian thermal and renewables power
-Investor interest in the renewables market of Alberta and Saskatchewan is
growing. In June 2016, Siemens Canada's wind and renewables division said that
they expect up to CAD50bn to be spent on renewables in the two provinces
over the next 14 years. Moreover, it was reported in April that Canadian energy
company Suncor Energy is planning to develop 240MW of solar projects in Alberta,
divided between three projects expected to come online in 2018.