Energy Use in the Industrial Sector

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Key highlights

Over the 1990 to 2017 period,
  • Canadian industry saved $3.4 billion in energy costs due to a 12% energy efficiency improvement in 2017.
  • Industrial energy use increased 33%. It would have increased 45% without energy efficiency improvements.
  • In 2017, Canadian industry saved 317 PJ of energy and reduced 15.9 Mt of GHG emissions.
  • Energy intensity (MJ/$2012 – GDP) decreased 15.8% (or 35.5% without the resource extraction industries)..

  Overview - Energy use and GHG emissions

The industrial sector used the most energy of any sector in Canada, but had fewer GHG emissions than the transportation sector.

The industrial sector spent $38.7 billion on energy in 2017 for all their manufacturing, resource extraction, forestry and construction activities.

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Distribution of industrial energy use by fuel type, 2017

Percentage
Electricity 20.5
Natural gas 41.8
Oil 7.5
Still gas and petroleum coke 13.4
Wood waste and pulping liquor 10.3
Other 6.5


Contribution to GDP and energy use are not always proportional.


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Distribution of energy use and activity by industry, 2017 (percentage)

Industry GDP Energy use
Construction 28.7 3.1
Forestry 1.1 0.7
Mining (including oil sands extraction) 29.9 36.5
Manufacturing 40.2 59.7

  Industrial energy use

From 1990 to 2017, industrial energy use increased 33%, from 2,710 PJ to 3,607 PJ, while the associated end-use GHG emissions increased only 28%, from 140.6 Mt to 180.5 Mt. The shift toward less emission-intensive fuels changed the mix of energy used over the period, which resulted in relatively lower growth in GHG emissions. Natural gas use grew significantly while major declines were reported in heavy fuel oil2 (HFO) and coke and coke oven gas.


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Industrial energy use by fuel type, 1990 and 2017 (petajoules)

1990 2017
Electricity 658.4 739.0
Natural gas 837.2 1508.2
Oil 328.7 270.6
Still gas and petroleum coke 309.9 482.6
Wood waste and pulping liquor 341.0 372.2
Other 234.6 234.8

  Energy use in resource extraction

This subsector comprises industries engaged in oil and gas extraction, coal mining, metal ore mining, non-metallic mineral mining, quarrying and support activities for mining and oil and gas extraction.

Since 1990, the subsector’s energy consumption and its associated end-use emissions have more than tripled. Over the 1990–2017 period, this subsector's GDP increased 81%, compared to a 58% increase for the industrial entire sector.

Activity in the oil sands was the main driver in energy demand from the resource extraction industries. Since the late 1990s, production from non-conventional resources (oil sands) increased. The production of bitumen and synthetic crude oil in 1990 was 55,000 cubic metres per day (m3/day). It climbed to 424,000 m3/day by 2017.

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Industrial energy use by selected industries, 1990 and 2017 (petajoules)

1990 2017
Upstream mining (including oil and gas extraction) 209.0 1159.2
Metal and non-metallic mining 136.9 159.3
Other industries 2364.0 2288.9

  Manufacturing energy use

The Manufacturing sector is responsible for approximately one quarter of the energy used by final consumers in Canada, consuming 2,153 PJ of energy in 2017, a decline of 6% since 1990. Although there are 21 subsectors with NAICS 3-digit codes, four of these subsectors accounted for around 66% of all energy consumption in the Manufacturing sector.

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Share of energy use in the Manufacturing sector, 2017

Percentage
Pulp and paper 25.5
Smelting and refining 12.6
Chemicals 11.8
Petroleum refining 15.0
Wood products 2.9
Iron and steel 10.6
Cement 2.9
Other Manufacturing* 18.6
* “Other Manufacturing” includes all other Manufacturing industries (NAICS codes 31, 32 and 33) not listed separately in the chart.

Pulp and Paper Manufacturing

Pulp and Paper Manufacturing is engaged in the manufacturing of pulp, paper and paper products and is the main user of biomass as a source of energy. This subsector is the biggest energy consumer within the Manufacturing sector, representing 26% of the Manufacturing sector’s energy use with 549 PJ in 2017.

This subsector is a big player in combined heat and power (CHP), which could result in a substantial increase in efficiency compared to separate electricity generation and heating.

Energy use for Pulp and Paper Manufacturing production peaked in 2004, before trending downward thereafter. In 2017, the subsector consumed 549 PJ of energy, a decrease of 25% from 728 PJ in 1990. Paperboard mills, paper mills (except newsprint) and newsprint mills decreased their energy use significantly since 1990, with the largest decline being in the newsprint mill industry (-67%). GHG emissions decreased 61% since 1990 for the sector as a whole.


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Pulp and Paper Manufacturing energy use by selected industry, 1990 and 2017 (petajoules)

1990 2017
Pulp mills 300.2 329.1
Paperboard mills 62.6 31.3
Paper mills (except newsprint) 99.8 75.7
Newsprint mills 247.6 81.8
Other 17.9 31.3

Primary Metal Manufacturing

The Primary Metal Manufacturing subsector is primarily engaged in the manufacturing of iron and steel, and alumina and aluminum of the Smelting and Refining industries. This subsector represented 23.2% of the Manufacturing sector’s energy use with 499 PJ in 2017, up 23.9% from 403 PJ in 1990. The increase was driven mostly by growing energy demand in the production of alumina and aluminum of the Smelting and Refining industries.

From 1990 to 2017, energy demand in the manufacturing of alumina and aluminum grew 92%, emitting just 23% more associated GHG emissions because of the shift toward less emission-intensive fuels. Since 1990, GDP in the production of alumina and aluminum has more than tripled, from $0.9 billion ($2012) in 1990 to $2.8 billion ($2012) in 2017.

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Smelting and refining energy use by selected industry, 1990 and 2017 (petajoules)

1990 2017
Alumina and aluminum 109.8 210.4
Other non-ferrous 73.5 61.3
Smelting and refining 183.3 271.7

Chemical Manufacturing

The Chemical Manufacturing subsector produces primarily industrial organic and inorganic chemicals and chemical fertilizers. This subsector represented 7.1% of the Manufacturing sector’s energy use with 255 PJ in 2017.

Chemical Manufacturing experienced robust growth in its energy needs, while Petroleum Refining reported a decline in energy use in 2017 compared to 1990.

Energy use in Chemical Manufacturing rose 14% from 223 PJ in 1990 to 255 PJ in 2017, driven in part by increasing energy demand in industrial gas Manufacturing. Natural gas (68% share) and electricity (26% share) accounted for the majority of the energy needs for the Chemical Manufacturing subsector. GHG emissions from this subsector increased only 2%.

Contrary to the upward trend in energy consumption in Chemical Manufacturing, energy use in Petroleum Refining declined 0.8%, even though the production level of the Petroleum Refining industry was 23% higher in 2017 than in 1990 ($2012 - GDP). GHG emissions increased 5% in 2017 compared to that in 1990, reflecting more use of still gas and petroleum coke in the Petroleum Refining industry.

Wood Product Manufacturing

The Wood Product Manufacturing subsector3 comprises engaged in manufacturing products from wood.

This subsector represented only 3% of the Manufacturing sector’s energy use with 60.5 PJ in 2017. GHG emissions decreased 24.1% between 1990 and 2017. The industries in this subsector are engaged in:

  • sawing logs into lumber and similar products, or preserving these products
  • making products that improve the natural characteristics of wood; for example, by making veneers, plywood, reconstituted wood panel products or engineered wood assemblies
  • making a diverse range of wood products such as millwork

  Measuring the effect of energy efficiency in industry

Without energy efficiency gains, energy use would have increased 45% instead of 33%.


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Impact of activity, structure and energy efficiency on the change in industrial energy use, 1990–2017

Petajoules
Total change in energy use 897.5
Activity effect 2,264.6
Structure effect -1,050.3
Energy efficiency effect -316.8

Various factors influenced change in energy use:

  • Activity effect – Industrial activity increased energy use by 2,264 PJ and GHG emissions by 113.3 Mt.
  • Structure effect – The structural changes in the industrial sector, specifically, a relative decrease in the activity share of energy-intensive industries (i.e. pulp and paper), helped the sector to reduce its energy use and GHG emissions by 1,050 PJ and 52.6 Mt, respectively.
  • Energy efficiency effect – Improvements in the energy efficiency of the industrial sector avoided 317 PJ of energy use and 15.9 Mt of GHG emissions.

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Factors influencing industrial energy consumption, 1990-2017

Total change in energy use Activity effect Structure effect Energy efficiency effect
1990 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
1995 307.4 237.4 110.1 -40.1
1996 309.7 294.6 99.4 -84.3
1997 376.5 475.4 45.5 -144.4
1998 288.7 578.4 0.6 -290.3
1999 336.5 733.1 21.9 -418.6
2000 457.0 915.3 -30.9 -427.5
2001 313.4 946.9 -144.7 -488.8
2002 429.6 1081.7 -128.1 -524.0
2003 493.0 1152.7 -208.8 -450.9
2004 657.6 1329.5 -297.1 -374.8
2005 593.1 1368.2 -345.7 -429.4
2006 591.0 1471.0 -558.3 -321.8
2007 721.3 1535.6 -504.3 -310.0
2008 576.7 1474.0 -611.9 -285.4
2009 411.2 1337.4 -795.8 -130.4
2010 496.3 15447.2 -825.5 -225.4
2011 680.9 1628.5 -854.6 -93.0
2012 733.3 1818.6 -1002.8 -82.5
2013 787.6 1945.3 -1024.9 -132.8
2014 852.9 2129.0 -1052.6 -223.5
2015 901.4 2142.9 -1062.0 -179.5
2016 768.4 2151.4 -1008.1 -374.9
2017 897.5 2264.6 -1050.3 -316.8

In 2017, Canadian industry saved $3.4 billion in energy costs because of a 12% energy efficiency improvement. Industry saved 317 PJ of energy and reduced 15.9 Mt of GHG emissions.


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Industrial energy use, with and without energy efficiency improvements, 1990–2017

Energy use without energy efficiency improvements Energy use with energy efficiency improvements
1990 2710.0 2710.0
1995 3057.5 3017.3
1996 3104.0 3019.6
1997 3230.8 3086.4
1998 3288.9 2998.6
1999 3465.0 3046.4
2000 3594.4 3166.9
2001 3512.1 3023.3
2002 3663.6 3139.6
2003 3653.8 3203.0
2004 3742.3 3367.5
2005 3732.5 3303.1
2006 3622.7 3301.0
2007 3741.2 3431.2
2008 3572.1 3286.6
2009 3251.6 3121.2
2010 3431.7 3206.3
2011 3483.9 3390.9
2012 3525.8 3443.2
2013 3630.3 3497.6
2014 3786.4 3562.9
2015 3790.9 3661.4
2016 3853.3 3478.4
2017 3924.2 3607.4

Resource extraction, manufacturing, construction and forestry did not contribute to energy savings proportionally to their energy use. Energy consumption in the resource extraction sector more than tripled from 1990 to 2017. However, higher energy use in resource extraction did not translate into more energy savings over the period. Most resource extraction industries posted much higher energy intensity per unit of economic activity, especially in the upstream mining sector (including oil and gas extraction).

Without resource extraction, Canadian industries improved energy efficiency by 24%, which represents 570.8 PJ of savings in 2017.

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Industrial energy use, with and without energy efficiency improvements (without resource extraction industries), 1990-2017

Energy use without energy efficiency improvements Energy use with energy efficiency improvements
1990 2364.0 2364.0
1995 2640.6 2575.2
1996 2683.7 2554.2
1997 2780.8 2618.8
1998 2815.2 2553.1
1999 3001.4 2556.3
2000 3103.5 2661.1
2001 3011.1 2510.9
2002 3134.6 2610.3
2003 3103.7 2576.3
2004 3131.4 2754.2
2005 3125.5 2644.8
2006 2981.7 2599.0
2007 3077.2 2578.1
2008 2912.5 2426.5
2009 2585.6 2200.1
2010 2735.7 2230.7
2011 2745.8 2278.3
2012 2736.6 2265.7
2013 2778.7 2288.2
2014 2846.8 2316.5
2015 2820.4 2293.2
2016 2863.6 2248.1
2017 2859.7 2288.9

The impact of activity, structure and energy efficiency on the change in industrial energy use without resource extraction industries are as follows:

  • Activity effect – Industrial activity increased energy use by 1,744.6 PJ and GHG emissions by 75.7 Mt.
  • Structure effect – The structural changes in the industrial sector, specifically, the relative decrease in the activity share of energy-intensive industries (i.e. pulp and paper), helped the sector to reduce its energy use and GHG emissions by 1,248.9 PJ and 54.2 Mt, respectively.
  • Energy efficiency effect – Improvements in the energy efficiency of the industrial sector avoided 570.8 PJ of energy use and avoided 24.8 Mt of GHG emissions.
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Factors influencing industrial energy consumption (without resource extraction), 1990-2017

Total change in energy use Activity effect Structure effect Energy efficiency effect
1990 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
1995 211.1 204.9 71.7 -65.4
1996 190.2 253.5 66.2 -129.5
1997 254.8 406.6 10.2 -162.0
1998 189.1 494.0 -42.9 -262.1
1999 192.2 624.9 12.4 -445.1
2000 297.1 778.0 -38.5 -442.4
2001 146.8 804.3 -157.3 -500.2
2002 246.2 916.3 -145.8 -524.3
2003 212.3 974.4 -234.8 -527.4
2004 390.2 1117.6 -350.3 -377.2
2005 280.8 1149.0 -387.6 -480.6
2006 234.9 1230.6 -613.0 -382.7
2007 214.4 1280.3 -567.1 -499.1
2008 62.4 1234.4 -686.0 -486.0
2009 -163.9 1135.9 -914.4 -385.5
2010 -133.3 1282.8 -911.2 -504.9
2011 -85.8 1338.4 -956.7 -467.5
2012 -98.3 1464.8 -1092.2 -470.9
2013 -75.8 1547.8 -1133.2 -490.4
2014 -47.5 1667.5 -1184.7 -530.3
2015 -70.8 1676.4 -1220.1 -527.2
2016 -116.0 1681.9 -1182.3 -615.5
2017 -75.1 1744.6 -1248.9 -570.8

  1. Wood waste and pulping liquor are primarily used in the pulp and paper industry because they are recycled materials produced only by this industry.
  2. One reason for the decline in HFO was that the pulp and paper industry, the largest user of HFO, adopted alternate forms of fuels, such as pulping liquor. Fuel switching was facilitated by the use of interruptible contracts with energy suppliers, allowing the industry to react to changes in relative prices of fuels.
  3. Wood Product Manufacturing does not include industries engaged in logging and chipping logs in the field, which is covered in Forestry and Logging.