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Energy consumption by the manufacturing sector edged up in 2019

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Released: 2020-11-25

Energy consumption by the manufacturing sector

2 196 petajoules


0.2% increase

(annual change)

The manufacturing sector consumed 2 196 petajoules of energy as part of the production process in 2019, up 0.2% from 2018.

Since the economic downturn in 2009, the energy consumed by manufacturing establishments has risen by approximately 6%. Over this same period, total real manufacturing sales increased by about 19%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Energy consumption and sales of goods, all manufacturing
Energy consumption and sales of goods, all manufacturing

A lower overall energy consumption in the manufacturing sector reflects the relative growth of industries with different intensities of energy use.

Natural gas and electricity are the largest sources of energy consumed

Natural gas, at 30.7%, was the largest source of energy consumed by the manufacturing sector in 2019, followed by electricity at 29.3%, spent pulping liquor at 11.1%, wood at 8.4% and refinery fuel gas at 6.4%.

Other energy sources combined accounted for the remaining 14.1% of the total energy consumed.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Energy consumed by type of fuel, overall manufacturing sector, 2009 and 2019
Energy consumed by type of fuel, overall manufacturing sector, 2009 and 2019

Growth in natural gas consumption outpaces increase in electricity

Prior to 2011, electricity was the largest source of energy consumed by the manufacturing sector. In 2011, natural gas became the most consumed energy source, and its consumption has grown at a faster pace than that of electricity. From 2009 to 2019, natural gas consumption rose by 19.8%, while electricity consumption grew by 5.2%. Increased use of natural gas could be attributed to industries looking to reduce their carbon emissions, as natural gas is a cleaner burning fossil fuel. Declining natural gas prices could also contribute to the growth in use of this fuel.

Over this same period, the consumption of spent pulping liquor increased by about 27% and wood and wood waste consumption increased by 8.6%. The consumption of refinery fuel gas declined by 24.9% and the consumption of all other fuels combined decreased 11.2%.

Paper and primary metal manufacturers are the top consumers of energy

Chart 3  Chart 3: Energy consumption by manufacturing industry, 2019
Energy consumption by manufacturing industry, 2019

In 2019, the top consumers of energy were paper (27.2%), primary metal (23.2%), petroleum and coal products (about 14%), chemical (about 12%), wood products (6.4%), food (about 5%) and non-metallic mineral product (4.6%) manufacturers, accounting for 92.4% of the total energy consumed by the manufacturing sector.

Together, these industries generated about 54% of the total real sales of goods manufactured (shipments) in 2019. By comparison, in 2009, these industries generated 58.8% of goods manufactured, while using 90.9% of the energy consumed in manufacturing.

Natural gas was primarily consumed by chemical (23.9%), primary metal (17.8%), paper (14.6%), petroleum and coal products (11.3%), food (10.8%) and non-metallic mineral product (about 6%) manufacturers, which, combined, accounted for 84.3% of the natural gas consumed by the manufacturing industry.

The largest consumers of electricity were primary metal (40.5%), paper (21.5%), chemical (11.2%), food (5.1%) and wood product (4.1%) manufacturers, accounting for 82.4% of the total electricity consumed in the production process.

Spent pulping liquor was consumed only by the paper manufacturing industry, while the largest consumers of wood and wood waste were the paper (51.5%) and wood products (46.4%) manufacturers. Refinery fuel gas was mainly consumed by the petroleum and coal products manufacturing industry, at 98.7%.

  Note to readers

The Annual Industrial Consumption of Energy Survey, sponsored by Natural Resources Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada, estimates energy consumed by type of fuel in Canadian manufacturing.

The target population consists of Canadian establishments classified by the North American Industry Classification System to manufacturing sectors 31, 32 and 33.

The 2019 survey estimates are based on a sample of 4,750 manufacturing establishments, which represents a weighted response rate of 85.4%.

A joule is a derived measure of energy or work. One gigajoule is equal to one billion (109) joules, and six gigajoules are roughly equivalent to the amount of potential energy in one US standard barrel of oil, when consumed. One petajoule is equal to 1015 joules.

Other energy sources include butane, coal, coal coke, coke oven gas, heavy fuel oil, middle distillates, petroleum coke, coke from catalytic cracking, propane and purchased steam.

Electricity consists of both purchased and self-generated electricity.

Totals and percentages may not add up because of rounding.

Manufacturing sales are from Table 16-10-0013-01.

Natural gas sale prices are available in Table 25-10-0033-01 from 1980 to 2015 and can be derived through use of Table 25-10-0059-01 from 2016 onwards.

Data for 2018 have been finalized. Data for 2019 are subject to revision.

Contact information

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