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Manitoba Hydro using new resource plan to transition energy production

Demand for electricity could surge over the next two decades and to address this, Manitoba Hydro is relying on a new framework, outlined in its latest Integrated Resource Plan.

It’s the first of its kind, detailing how increased demand could coincide with the need for more energy sources — specifically, clean energy. The plan adds that the utility company will “monitor, prepare for, and respond to” the province’s energy landscape.

The 100 plus-page plan points to alternative energy sources, as a means to ween off high carbon-based sources. In a press release on Aug. 2, Manitoba Hydro added that “diverse options” need to be considered to meet future energy needs. In an interview with Global News, president Jay Grewal said wind energy is the “most effective way to meet the increasing demand for electricity.”

But even as the utility company plans for a greener future, Grewal added that the province wouldn’t completely transition out of using existing energy sources. In fact, she said, the goal would be to reduce carbon emissions through more “strategic” use of natural gas.

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“The process of developing this IRP and the conversations we’ve had throughout, confirmed the importance of working together with the broader energy planning community… to understand and chart a path forward,” said Grewal. “Our customers, Manitobans, might actually see their overall energy costs go down through this transition if we manage it.”

Further breaking it down, the IRP notes that 24 per cent of the energy produced throughout the province is used for electricity. The data, from 2019, also shows that 97 per cent of the electricity does not emit greenhouse gases.

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The average demand for electricity is highest during the winter months, starting from November all the way to March. It’s the same for natural gas, which the IRP states is mostly used to heat buildings; 28 per cent of energy used comes from natural gas.

The plan outlines six findings:

  • That an energy transition is underway across the province.
  • That managing this transition will be “critical” for safe, reliable and low-cost energy.
  • That investment is required.
  • That the strategic use of natural gas and gaseous fuels are “an integral part of the energy transition.”
  • That analysis findings can better inform responses to an accelerated energy transition.
  • That any future energy-related decision will require complex considerations.

Manitoba Hydro’s push to meet future demands comes on the heels of the province’s own decision to modernize energy governance. At a press conference on July 28, the province noted it would rely on a clean energy roadmap to ensure energy security and work on a power supply that is sustainable.

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Manitoba Hydro foreshadows integrated resource plan as a part of provincial clean energy initiative

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