Canada Needs To Double Its Renewable Capacity

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Originally published on the ECOreport

Thanks to the abundance of hydropower in Quebec, Manitoba, and British Columbia, Canada already obtains 65% of its electricity from clean energy sources. This puts us in an admirable position as compared with the rest of the world. A report from the Canadian Council on Renewable Electricity concludes that to meet its climate targets, Canada needs to double its renewable capacity.

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Canada Needs To Double Its Renewable Capacity

Powering Climate Prosperity: Canada’s Renewable Electricity Advantage is a message for Canada’s new prime minister and the premiers the week before they depart for Paris.

The world has embarked upon a shift to cleaner energy sources and energy efficiency solutions.

To achieve this, the International Energy Agency recommends a ramping up of global investments in the renewable energy sector, from the $270 billion spent last year to $400 billion by 2030.

Canada’s current emissions target is to “reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.”

Despite a decade of inactivity on the federal level, the nation still has a head start over other G7 nations.

“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,” said Elisa Obermann, Executive Director, Marine Renewables Canada.

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Canada’s Renewable Energy Potential

“We have barely even scratched the surface of Canada’s renewable energy potential,” said Robert Hornung of the Canadian Wind Energy Association.

“Canada ranks fourth in the world in installed hydro capacity (77 GW), seventh in wind (9.7GW). And while we have lagged other nations in deploying solar (1.9 GW), investment is picking up steam: in 2014, domestic solar investment climbed 47 percent over 2013. When it comes to marine energy, Canada ranks third for the number of in-stream tidal and wave technology developers.” – Powering Climate Prosperity, page 4

” …Canada boasts a generous endowment of renewable resources and, unlike their carbon counterparts, they are distributed across the country. And despite our global leadership, these resources are also largely untapped. Recent assessments suggest that biomass, wind, hydro, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic alone would be sufficient to provide 1.5 times the total energy used in Canada in 2010.” – page 5


Decarbonize Our Energy System

“The formula to decarbonize our energy system is straightforward: 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,” added Jacob Irving, President, Canadian Hydropower Association.

“For too long, our national discussion about climate change has focused on what we can’t do. But we have tremendous renewable energy resources, technology costs keep falling, and it’s time to focus on what we can do,” said John Gorman, President, Canadian Solar Industries Association.

All illustrations taken from Powering Climate Prosperity: Canada’s Renewable Electricity Advantage : solar installation, Figure 1: Primary Energy in Canada (2010); Figure 2: Greenhouse gas emissions (MtCO2) trajectory, by sector, 2010-2050

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Roy L Hales

is the President of Cortes Community Radio , CKTZ 89.5 FM, where he has hosted a half hour program since 2014, and editor of the Cortes Currents (formerly the ECOreport), a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of British Columbia. He is a research junkie who has written over 2,000 articles since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.

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