Returning Exported Electricity

On this page, we’ll discuss Returning Exported Electricity, one of the 5 action areas identified in the R2Rv2 Study.

Every year Manitoba Hydro meets the electricity demands of all Manitoba customers and sells excess electricity to Saskatchewan, Ontario and some USA states. For this reason most Manitobans believe we have more electricity than we need, but in reality fossil fuels provide 75% of the energy Manitobans use each year.

Re-allocating exported electricity to replace fossil fuel use is one of the easiest and most financially lucrative climate actions we can take in Manitoba.

There are two types of Manitoba Hydro exports:

  • Firm Contracts are multi-year agreements where the customer pays a guaranteed price and Hydro guarantees a certain amount of power will be available 24/7.
  • Spot Market Sales are very short term with no guarantees or obligations on either side.

Most of the firm contracts will have expired by 2030, at which point the electricity should be allocated for use in Manitoba.

From 2014 to 2021, Hydro has sold twice as much electricity on the spot market on average compared to its firm contracts. Over the same time frame, the average firm market price has been more than 3X higher than the spot market price (8.5 cents vs 2.75 cents per kWh). Meanwhile, the residential rate for electricity is nearly 9 cents per kWh, and may increase to 9.5 cents.

This means every kWh of spot market energy that is used in Manitoba instead will earn Hydro 3X more revenue.

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Technical Analysis

Recommended ActionsPeak Demand (Firm MW)Energy (GWh/yr)% of Target (Power)% of Target (Energy)
Return Firm Exports1,6052,76318.8%9.8%
Return Spot Market Exports06,1920.0%22.0%
TOTAL1,6058,95518.8%31.8%

Details and Assumptions

  1. Numbers assume all electricity contracts expiring before 2050 are not renewed, and the electricity is repatriated for use in Manitoba.
  2. No firm power is available from returning spot market exports.
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