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Updated June 2021

 

Three grades of coal are produced in Alberta: subbituminous, metallurgical bituminous, and thermal bituminous. Forecasts are done for each type. Supply and demand fundamentals are considered, with coal-fired electricity generation determining nearly all of the subbituminous coal production.

Production Forecast

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 pending or approved applications with the AER but have not yet been built. 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.

Demand Forecast

The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) forecasts the supply adequacy of electricity generation to meet provincial demand given the scheduled retirement of all coal-fired power plants in Alberta by 2030. The AER’s current forecast uses the coal-fired power plant retirement assumptions from the most recent edition of AESO 2019 Long-term Outlook and reflects any most recent announcements made by operators.

All metallurgical and thermal bituminous coal production is assumed to leave Alberta with final consumption elsewhere. The largest importers of Alberta’s coal are monitored for steelmaking trends, power generation additions, and other trade factors that can influence demand.

Data

All 2020 data is as reported by industry until the end of December and does not capture any subsequent amendments. The AER uses historical data from the ST26: Alberta Coal Industry Monthly Statistics report for production and demand statistics.