Matching Supply With Demand

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Matching Supply With Demand

We work around the clock to make sure we’re producing the right amount of electricity for Nova Scotians at all times. As energy demand goes up and down throughout the day and over the course of a year, different types of electricity generation are used to best meet customer needs at different times.

We forecast how much electricity we expect our customers to use at any given time based on previous energy demand at similar dates and times. These forecasts, along with other factors like our environmental targets and which facilities can be run at the lowest cost, influence how we use different sources of electricity to meet demand.

Our generating sources fall into four different categories in terms of how they’re used to meet demand:

Base load

Plants used to provide base load operate all year, except for planned maintenance shut-downs. Generating units in these plants can change the amount of electricity they generate based on hourly customer demand, but cannot be turned on and off quickly. Our base load units are fuelled primarily by coal, but can include natural gas.

Intermediate load

Plants needed for intermediate load requirements meet demand during peak business hours of the day and the colder months of the year. Our intermediate load units are fuelled by oil and natural gas.

Peak load

Peak load units operate only at the time of highest demand - the coldest, darkest days. They can start up and shut down efficiently and have lower construction costs than other units, but can often have high fuel costs. Our peak load units are fuelled by oil, natural gas, and hydro.

Non-dispatchable generation

Plants that can't be counted on at specific times are non-dispatchable. Examples include wind farms and tidal power plants that can only generate electricity when their energy source is available – i.e. when the wind is blowing or the tide is on the turn.