Prairie Provinces to lead Canada in renewable energy growth

News Release
For Immediate Release

March 23, 2021 – Canada Energy Regulator

Canada’s Prairie Provinces will lead the country’s growth in renewable energy capacity over the next three years, says a new report by the Canada Energy Regulator (CER).

The online report, titled Canada’s Renewable Power, says decreased reliance on coal and substantial increases in wind and solar capacity will increase the amount of renewable energy added to the grid in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Meanwhile, Manitoba will strengthen its position as a prominent hydro producer in Canada. The pace of overall renewable energy growth is expected to slow at the national level between 2021 and 2023, but with strong growth in provinces with a large reliance on fossil fuel generation.

The report explores electricity generation in Canada and provides a short-term outlook for renewable electricity capacity in each province and territory to 2023. It also features a series of interactive visuals that allow for comparison between regions and highlights the diversity of electricity sources across Canada.

Electricity generation from renewable sources is expected to continue increasing as demand for electricity grows and the country continues its transition to a lower-carbon economy. Canada will see gradual declines in overall carbon emissions from electricity generation largely due to Saskatchewan, Alberta, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick replacing coal with renewables and natural gas. The pace of growth beyond 2023 in renewable power will depend on technological developments; consumer preferences; and government policies and programs.

Canada is a world leader in renewable power, generating almost two-thirds of its electricity from renewables with hydro as the dominant source. Canada also has one of the world’s lowest carbon intensities for electricity.

The CER produces neutral and fact-based energy analysis to inform the energy conversation in Canada. This report is part of a portfolio of publications on energy supply, demand and infrastructure that the CER publishes regularly as part of its ongoing market monitoring.

Report highlights

  • Wind capacity in Saskatchewan is projected to triple and nearly double in Alberta between 2020 and 2023. Significant solar capacity growth is also projected, with Alberta adding 1,200 MW by 2023.
  • In Alberta, the share of renewables in the capacity mix is expected to increase from 16% in 2017 to 26% by 2023. Similarly, Saskatchewan’s renewable share of capacity is expected to increase from 25% in 2018 to 33% in 2023.
  • Renewable capacity growth slows most notably in Ontario. Between 2010 and 2017, renewable capacity grew 6.8% per year. Between 2018 and 2023, growth in Ontario slows to 0.4% per year as capacity grows by 466 MW over this period.
  • New large-scale hydro, wind, and solar projects will push the share of renewables in Canada’s electricity mix from 67% of installed capacity in 2017 to 71% in 2023.
  • Hydro is the dominant source of electricity in Canada accounting for 55% of total installed capacity and 59% of generation, with B.C., Manitoba, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Yukon deriving more than 90% of their power from hydro.
  • The jurisdictions with the highest percentage of non-hydro renewable electricity generation are PEI (100%), Nova Scotia (15.8%), and Ontario (10.5%).
  • In 2010, 62.8% of Canada’s total electricity generation (364 681 GW‧h) was from renewable sources. By 2018, 66.2% (425 722 GW-h) was from renewable sources and projected to be 71.0% by 2023.


“When people think about the Prairies, many of them think about fossil fuels. Interestingly, our projections show they are actually now leading the way in renewable energy growth, while national levels will slow in the next three years.”

Darren Christie
Chief Economist
Canada Energy Regulator

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The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) works to keep energy moving safely across the country. We review energy development projects and share energy information, all while enforcing some of the strictest safety and environmental standards in the world. To find out how the CER is working for you visit us online or connect on social media.


Karen Ryhorchuk
Communications Officer

Canada Energy Regulator
Telephone: 403-671-9756
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