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:
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.
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 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
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.