Coal Methodology


Updated March 2018

2017 Estimates

All values for 2017 have been estimated using data reported by industry up until the end of August 2017. Full-year estimates for 2017 were derived using these data, adjusting for seasonality. 

Forecasting Methodology

In forecasting coal supply, the three grades of coal produced in the province—subbituminous, metallurgical bituminous, and thermal bituminous—are forecast separately. Supply and demand fundamentals for each type of coal are considered, with coal-fired electricity generation determining nearly all of the subbituminous coal production, and metal commodities and export markets influencing bituminous coal production. Production from each operating mine in the province is evaluated based on current market conditions and publicly available information.

Projects considered in the forecast include those that have been approved by the AER but have not yet been completed. Unless otherwise indicated, announced projects are not included. The forecast recognizes that key factors such as commodity prices, the length of the construction period, and access to rail transportation affect project timing and estimated production.

The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) has forecast the adequacy of electricity generation to meet provincial demand with respect to the scheduled retirement of all coal-fired power plants by 2030; as a result, the AER’s current forecast has used the coal-fired power plant retirement assumptions included in the AESO 2017 Long Term Outlook.