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Manufacturing demand for power drops

Published by Steve Coleman on August 02, 2011

A new federal government report says Canada's manufacturing sector used 11 per cent less energy in 2009 than it did a year earlier.

The annual report from Natural Resources Canada says the country's manufacturers used the equivalent of roughly 66.7 million megawatt hours less of electricity between 2008 and 2009.

Between 1995 and 2009, energy demand fell 18 per cent, or the equivalent of 123.6 million megawatt hours of electricity. The savings would have been enough to run space heating and cooling, lighting, water heating and run computers and photocopiers in Canadian offices for all of 2008.

While power demand dropped, not all of it was because of equipment upgrades. Statistics Canada says lower world-wide demand for manufactured goods in 2008 played a large role in energy usage.

The federal government divides industry into 21 categories. Of those, 18 all reported lower overall energy demand to keep their shops running. Only four of the categories accounted for 76 per cent of manufacturing energy use - paper, smelting, oil and coal production and chemical manufacturing.

At 41.1 per cent less, paper producers reported the largest drop in energy consumption. Production fell, dropping the industry's GDP $2 billion.

One spinoff of more pollution controls on petroleum producers was the fact it took more energy to produce everyone else's energy. Petroleum and coal producers reported a 25.2 per cent increase in energy consumption.

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