[Image in on-line article shows 65% of Canada's electricity generation in 2013 came from renewables, and just 20% from fossil fuels. With the phase-out of coal-fired generation in Ontario in early 2014, the situation is actually better now. Other reports have indicated that Canada could be at less than 5% fossil-fuel generation by 2030 with concerted will and using off-the-shelf technology.]

Canadian renewable energy report released prior to First Ministers’ Meeting

OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada


By Gregory B. Poindexter Associate Editor

The Canadian Council on Renewable Electricity (CCRE) today released its report, “Canada’s Advantage: A Vision for Renewable Electricity in Canada,” which identifies renewable electricity resources that will cut carbon pollution as Canada shifts from fossil fuels to clean energy.

CCRE released the report in advance of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hosting a First Ministers’ Meeting and a meeting with First Nations, Inuit, and Metis leaders today in the country’s capital city of Ottawa, in Ontario, to discuss amongst other things, clean energy growth and climate change.

CCRE said in the report that one of the ways in which Canada will reduce its use of fossil fuels involves using smart grids and cites information that conveys, “Renewable power is not only a key factor in driving the need for a smart grid, but also in making a better grid possible.”

In its mention of key factors driving the need for a smart grid, the report says, “Canada has a critical advantage over many other jurisdictions to help smooth over variability issues [related to smart grids]: substantial hydropower resources.

“Electricity grids have always required storage and flexible resources, and hydro power is the only large scale, dispatchable non-emitting resource that can both store electricity and very rapidly ramp up and down (increase or reduce its supply) in response to changing requirements."

Abundant renewable electricity resources offer the country a competitive advantage in global efforts to cut carbon pollution and deliver clean growth, and can power Canada’s economy as it shifts from fossil fuels to clean energy, according to the report.

The report offers the following recommendations:

Aim for a zero-carbon electricity grid by 2050 — Implement policies to phase-out practically all emitting generation sources by 2050 and ensure the sustained growth of the share of generation produced by renewable sources; Shifting from fossil fuels to clean electricity — Commit to increasing the use of electricity in our energy system to over 50% of all energy used in Canada by 2050, by shifting from fossil fuels to clean electricity for buildings, transportation and industry; and A renewable energy export strategy — Prioritize the development of a renewable energy export strategy, including work on streamlining of cross-border transmission projects, and efforts to increase the export of renewable electricity technologies and services.

Hydropower industry executives added their thoughts related to the report and the need for clean energy growth in Canada.

“Different sources of renewable electricity have different attributes that, when put together, can complement each other to ensure we have clean, reliable and affordable electricity across Canada,” said Elisa Obermann, Marine Renewables Canada executive director.

“Canada is a trading nation, and the renewable electricity sector can step up its contribution to clean growth,” said Jacob Irving, Canadian Hydropower Association president. “From exporting clean electricity to the United States, to sharing our technologies and know-how with countries around the world, we can compete in the fast-growing global market for clean energy solutions.”

According to CCRE, renewable energy sources such as sun, wind, and water currently meet 65% of Canada’s electricity needs. Canada also has the cleanest, most renewable electricity generation system in the G7 and the fourth-largest renewable energy capacity in the world.

The federal government’s recently released “Mid-Century Long-Term Low-Greenhouse Gas Development Strategy” includes increased electrification of all end-use application that currently rely on fossil fuels, continued decarbonization of the electricity sector, and increased interprovincial and intercontinental cooperation on electricity.

Established in 2015, the CCRE is a non-partisan organization that allows Canada’s leading national renewable electricity industry associations to collaborate, educate and pursue common opportunities as a solutions provider to the critical challenge of decarbonizing the North American energy system while bolstering economic growth.

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