Electricity Regulation and Market Monitoring
The construction and operation of international power lines and the export of electricity from Canada are regulated by the National Energy Board (NEB).
The NEB also monitors trends within electricity markets, including developments related to renewable power.
It should be noted that most other activities about electricity generation, transmission or distribution fall under provincial jurisdiction.
By the numbers
As of July 2016, there were 84 international power lines operating regulated by the NEB.
These lines ranged from over 160 kilometres in length to just 11 metres.
If they were connected to each other, they would span about 1,300 kms, or the distance between Edmonton and Winnipeg.
In 2015, they transmitted $3.4 billion of electricity into and out of Canada.
As with pipelines, the NEB considers many issues when reviewing an application for an international power line, including:
- socio-economic effects
- environmental effect
- economic feasibility
- Indigenous rights, and
- landowners interest
Depending on their size, international power lines are inspected by the NEB or respective provincial authorities.
Exporting electricity on a power lines requires NEB approval.
Each year, the NEB issues about 10 permits, and at any given time there are about 100 permits in effect.
The NEB uses specific criteria when reviewing electricity export permits.
For instance, the NEB assesses whether the applicant has provided fair market access to all parties interested in buying electricity for consumption in Canada.
The exports’ effects on other provinces will also be considered.
To support and inform these regulatory processes, the NEB actively monitors electricity markets.
It incorporates substantial electricity analysis into its energy information products and publishes statistics.
Renewables are taking an ever increasing role in Canada’s energy system.
The NEB’s electricity analysis has evolved with this trend.
This includes greater coverage of renewables within existing publications such as Market Snapshots, as well as development of new reports focused solely on renewable power.
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