Research

The value of interprovincial transmission for a net-zero future

May, 2023

Summary

Electricity transmission capacity between provinces has become a climate policy priority in Canada. This modeling work, prepared as a research talk for the 2nd Annual Electricity Camp in the Rockies, simulated a set of scenarios with gradually increasing transfer capability between British Columbia and Alberta, from 500 MW up to 5,000 MW. The objective of this analysis was to identify potential cost savings of increased transmission capability between the provinces and help inform discussions between policymakers, system operators, and industry about electricity system improvements in Canada.

Highlights:

  • This research suggests annual savings in electricity system costs of up to $150M/year to restore the BC-Alberta intertie to 1,000 MW, and much larger broader economic benefits, with savings continuously increasing at higher levels of interconnection.
  • Increased interconnection decreases electricity system costs in both BC and Alberta, as BC’s high-volume hydroelectric reservoirs enable the development of Alberta’s wind and solar resources.
  • In a net-zero future, greater grid integration allows BC and Alberta to rely more heavily on electrification, and less on higher-cost abatement actions, to reduce emissions. This economic benefit may be much larger than the direct effect of grid integration on electricity generation costs.

Click the image above to download the slides.

Download the slides.

This modeling work was prepared as a research talk for the 2nd Annual Electricity Camp in the Rockies.

To learn more about this research, please contact Sam Harrison.

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