Canada Renewable Energy

Canada—No 100% 2050 Commitment
Benchmark: Electricity system to run 90% on non-emitting resources by 2030

Canada has not yet made a commitment to reach 100% renewable energy by 2050.
Renewables represents 66% of Canada’s electricity generation: 59.3% is hydroelectricity, wind power is 4.4%, biomass power is 1.9 % and solar power is 0.5%. Nuclear power generation accounts for an additional 16% of the nation’s electricity mix.

Canada already has one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world. Long coastlines and vast landmass give it some of the best wind and solar available. The renewable industry is growing within Canada and forecasts solar capacity increase three-fold by 2025. Investment could support the transition of Canada’s electricity system towards 90% non-emitting resources by 2030. The National Energy Board sees a continuing increase in the future for solar, wind and other technologies as they become more cost competitive. They note renewable energy production increased 17% between 2005 and 2015. Canada has a lot of land without a large population, making it able to achieve 100% renewable energy.

80% of Canada’s electricity sector is now generated by non-emitting sources. To achieve 100% renewables, Canada would need to replace existing fossil fuel combustion sources with clean energy, and ensure new growth in the electricity sector from zero emitting sources.

In June 2016, Canada, USA and Mexico set a goal of 50% clean power generation in North America by 2025. That included renewable energy, nuclear power, carbon capture and storage and cutting energy waste through increased efficiency. Alignment of policies, followed by integration of energy systems including trading markets to transmission lines to accelerate clean energy deployment was the expected outcome. With changes to the US government and expected NAFTA agreement changes, the next steps are not yet clear.

In November 2016, Canada’s federal government committed to ‘lead by example’ to reduce its own emissions to 40% below 2005 levels, by 2030 or sooner and purchase 100% of its electricity from clean energy sources as well as to invest in vehicle fleets and infrastructure.

Cities have started to establish 100% renewable targets. As of 2015, approximately 90% of Vancouver’s electricity was being generated by hydropower. Victoria and Oxford County have also set 100% renewable targets. Toronto as a C40 member may be next.

Learn More
Canada’s government buildings commitment to 100% renewables
The Pan-Canadian Framework commitment to the Paris Agreement
The 2016 three Amigos pledge of 50% clean power Across North America
See map of innovative renewable energy projects around the world