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Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/27/2013 -- Our Q213 forecasts for Canada's Power industry are virtually unchanged from the previous quarter as our key view of the market remains in place. On the back of a revision to our historical data set, and accounting for the fact that external headwinds and a slowdown in domestic consumption continue to weight on Canada's economic performance, we have slightly downgraded our 2012 consumption growth estimate for the Canadian power market, from 0.9% to 0.8%. Owing to a combination of economic, demographic and industry-specific dynamicS, we also anticipate that the country's mature electricity market will see a positive but moderate rise in generation and consumption in the medium to long term. The replacement of old and polluting capacity will be the key drivers of this growth.
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Canada enjoys the advantage of a diverse and balanced electricity mix, thanks to its abundant indigenous resources. Yet, and despite Canada's decision to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, environmental concerns are likely to weigh heavily on the country's energy agenda. Hence, in a picture similar to the one of its Southern neighbour, we anticipate that planned shifts in the share of various fuels will be among the key drivers of new investment in the power sector:
- We have long held the view that, although Canada's heavy reliance on coal for electricity generation and its withdrawal from of the Kyoto agreement would imply the expansion of greener technologies is not at the forefront of government policy, stringent government carbon emission regulations suggest that electricity generation from coal will decrease over our 10-year forecast period.
- News that Canada introduced new tough regulations to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the coal-fired electricity sector in September 2012 are testament to this view. As a result of these regulations, Canada became indeed the first country in the world to ban new coal plants that use traditional technology. In addition, data from the Energy Information Administration highlights that Canada is a declining market for US coal exports.
- Similarly, Saskatchewan Power Corp.'s announcement of a Carbon, Capture and Storage (CCS) development in Canada comes at a crucial time for the technology, as its European prospects continue to plummet. If the project were to be successfully implemented, it could provide a significant boost to the outlook for CCS both in the country and globally. However, there are still a number of risks that could jeopardise the project's development, the high cost and immature nature of the technology being the most pertinent. Overall, the country is likely to invest in low-carbon emission capacity, primarily gas and hydro and non-hydro renewable technologies. That said, the absence of national targets for renewable energy and a very diverse energy mix across provinces make it difficult to gauge Canada's green energy agenda.
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