Electricity Facts

Alberta has over 13,898 megawatts (MW) of installed electricity generation capacity as well as 21,000 kilometres of transmission lines. Together, this system continuously delivers electricity to homes, farms and businesses in every corner of the province.

About 41 percent of Alberta’s installed electricity generation capacity is from coal and almost 40 percent from natural gas. Alberta also uses water, wind, biomass and waste heat as forms of electricity generation.

Over 7,300 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.

Alberta has about 4,000 MW of cogeneration (29% 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 light bulb 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.