Canada tackles decarbonizing its energy systems with plans that include hydroelectric power

In a major move to decarbonize its energy system and contribute to fighting climate change, Canadian energy officials say the country needs to produce twice as much renewable electricity across the country compared to current amounts.

The increase in renewable energy is a key finding in “Powering Climate Prosperity: Canada’s Renewable Electricity Advantage,” a report released Nov. 19 from the Canadian Council on Renewable Electricity.

Several renewable energy association leaders commented on Canada’s need for increased renewable energy including Jacob Irving, president of the Canadian Hydropower Association.

“The formula to decarbonize our energy system is straightforward,” Irving said. [“We must] waste less energy, maximize our use of renewable sources of electricity and use electricity as the preferred source of energy to power everything from buildings to industry to transportation.”

The report, which arrives as Canada’s prime minister and premiers prepare to meet the week of Nov. 22 in advance of the global climate talks, outlines Canada’s current renewable electricity production and explores how the nation can dramatically reduce carbon
emissions by 2050.

The report argues three significant changes to Canada’s energy production and consumption are required by 2050 if the country does its part to prevent average global temperatures from rising to dangerous levels.

Specifically, the needs are as follows:

– Intensify efforts to cut energy waste across the economy;
– More than double renewable electricity generation capacity; and
– Increase use of electricity as the “clean fuel of choice” to power the economy.

The report draws on data and modeling conducted by the Low Carbon Pathways group at Carbon Management Canada, and published last September in “Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in Canada.”

The report was released in conjunction with the release of the 16-country report in Paris, France, by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations. The international study will be tabled by the French presidency at the United Nations’ 21st Conference of the Parties in December.

Elisa Obermann, executive director of Marine Renewables Canada, said, “Compared to most countries, Canada has a head start: we already get more than 65 per cent of our electricity from renewable sources. And we know how to responsibly tap into those resources, so now it is a matter of scaling up so we can power more of our lives with
clean energy.”

The council
An initiative of Canada’s leading, national renewable electricity associations, the Canadian Council on Renewable Electricity works to build public support for increased development of our abundant renewable electricity resources in order to further decarbonize North America’s energy system.

The founding members of the Council are the Canadian Hydropower Association, Canadian Solar Industries Association, Canadian Wind Energy Association, and Marine Renewables Canada.

Clean Energy Canada, a program of Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue, provides secretariat support to the Council.

The Council can be found at and, and on Twitter @RenewableCanada.


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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for

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