REGINA – It didn’t take long for SaskEnergy to set another natural gas consumption record. On Jan. 6, this province’s natural gas usage hit 1.66 petajoules (PJ). The previous daily record was set on December 29, 2021.

“This marks the fifth time in the past two weeks that daily natural gas consumption in Saskatchewan has approached or exceeded 1.6 PJ. Prior to this winter, the previous daily usage record was 1.57 PJ, set in February 2021,” SaskEnergy said in a release.

SaskEnergy measures daily natural gas consumption for the 24-hour period from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. A PJ is a unit of measurement equivalent to one million gigajoules (GJ) of natural gas. An average Saskatchewan home consumes about 100 GJ of natural gas each year.

“When we plan for winter usage, we prepare for the worst conditions a Saskatchewan winter can offer,” SaskEnergy president and CEO Ken From said in a release. “This means we can provide residents and businesses with the natural gas that they will need on any given day of the year. Delivering significant amounts of energy during some of the most extreme weather is what our system is designed to do, providing the natural gas our customers need with 99.99 per cent reliability.”

SaskEnergy previously noted that the record set at the end of December was related in part to the increased usage of natural gas in power generation.

Saskatchewan’s power production has increasingly shifted from coal to natural gas as a fuel source. In December, Boundary Dam Unit 4, a coal-fired generating unit, was retired, reducing the Boundary Dam Power Station to 672 megawatts capacity. On the natural gas side, Saskatchewan has seen the construction of several new natural gas-fired power plants. They include the baseload North Battleford Power Station (289 megawatts), Yellowhead Power Station peaking plant (also at North Battleford, 135 megawatts), the baseload Chinook Power Station at Swift Current (353 megawatts) and peaking plant Spy Hill Power Station (89 megawatts). Another 353 megawatt baseload plant, very similar to Chinook, is under construction at Moose Jaw.

All of this added natural gas-fired power generation has, in turn, driven higher usage of natural gas during times of high electrical consumption.

SaskPower’s Chinook Power Station, comissioned in 2019, is one of the reasons we set natural gas consumption records in the last week of 2021. Photo courtesy SaskPower

 

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