Market Snapshot: A Near-Term Outlook for Renewable Power in Canada

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Release date: 2021-03-24

Canada is a world leader in electricity generation from renewable energy sources. Not only do our lakes and rivers provide abundant hydro resources, but Canada has seen strong growth in other renewables over the past decade.

In the CER’s latest publication, Canada’s Renewable Power: Recent and Near-Term Developments (Canada’s Renewable Power), we explore recent trends in both electricity capacity and generation for each province and territory in Canada. We also explore a short-term outlook for planned capacity changes in each province and territory.

This infographic shows some of the key highlights from Canada’s Renewable Power, including a short-term outlook for regional developments, and a look at the provinces and territories that are leading renewable generation in Canada.

We invite you to explore Canada’s Renewable Power to find out how renewables contribute to your electricity grid.

Canada's Renewable Power: Recent and Near-Term Developments

Source and Description

Source: CER, Canada’s Energy Future 2020

Description:

In 2018, over two-thirds of Canada’s electricity was generated from renewable sources. Wind and solar capacity is projected to continue growing over the medium term, but at a slower pace compared to capacity additions made between 2010 and 2017.

Between 2010 and 2017, capacity for renewables in Canada grew by 8 927 megawatts (MW) for wind, 5 773 MW for hydro, 2 333 MW for solar, and 637 MW for biomass and geothermal.

Between 2017 and 2023, capacity for renewables in Canada is projected to grow by 3 178 megawatts (MW) for wind, 2 392 MW for hydro, 1 784 MW for solar, and 52 MW for biomass and geothermal. This near-term outlook is from the CER’s Evolving Energy Systems Scenario from Canada’s Energy Future 2020.

The top five jurisdictions that are projected to see the most new renewable capacity installed between 2017 and 2023 are: Alberta (2 669 MW), Quebec (1 617 MW), Manitoba (746 MW), Saskatchewan (587 MW), and Ontario (465 MW).

Canada's Renewable Power: Hydroelectricity, Solar, Wind, Biomass, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Source and Description

Source: CER, Canada’s Energy Future 2020, Environment and Climate Change Canada – National Inventory Report 2020

Description:

Hydroelectricity: Canada is a world leader in hydroelectricity production. In 2018, 59% of Canada’s electricity came from hydro. The top five jurisdictions in Canada for hydro generation in 2018 were: Quebec (199 783 gigawatt hours (GW.h), British Columbia (61 791 GW.h), Newfoundland and Labrador (41 831 GW.h), Ontario (38 281 GW.h), and Manitoba (30 732 GW.h).

Solar: Canada’s solar capacity is primarily in Ontario, but large future growth is expected in Alberta and Saskatchewan. In 2018, 0.5% of Canada’s electricity came from solar. The top five jurisdictions in Canada for solar generation in 2018 were: Ontario (2 988 GW.h), Alberta (58 GW.h), British Columbia (4.0 GW.h), Saskatchewan (2.7 GW.h), and the Northwest Territories (1.8 GW.h).

Wind: Wind is Canada’s second largest source of renewable electricity after hydro. In 2018, 5% of Canada’s electricity came from wind. The top five jurisdictions in Canada for wind generation in 2018 were: Ontario (11 964 GW.h), Quebec (9 955 GW.h), Alberta (4 119 GW.h), British Columbia (1 723 GW.h), and Nova Scotia (1 153 GW.h).

Biomass: Net emissions from biomass can be close to zero if biomass is used at the same rate that it regenerates. In 2018, 1.4% of Canada’s electricity came from biomass. The top five jurisdictions in Canada for biomass generation in 2018 were: British Columbia (3 837 GW.h), Ontario (1 500 GW.h), Alberta (1 428 GW.h), Quebec (1 252 GW.h), and New Brunswick (438 GW.h).

Greenhouse gas emissions: Canada’s emissions from electricity generation are among the lowest in the world; however, there are notable regional differences. The jurisdictions with the lowest emissions intensity for generation in 2018: Manitoba (1.3 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt hour (g of CO2e per kW.h)), Quebec (1.3 g of CO2e per kW.h), and PEI (4.0 g of CO2e per kW.h). The jurisdictions with the highest emissions intensity for generation in 2018: Nunavut (840 g of CO2e per kW.h), Nova Scotia (720 g of CO2e per kW.h), and Saskatchewan (680 g of CO2e per kW.h). Emissions intensity is the level of emissions per unit of electricity generated. In 2018, the national average was 120 g of CO2e per kW.h.

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