May 3, 2017
Canada produced about 66 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources, according to a new report.
The country is the second biggest producer of hydro electricity in the world, accounting for 10 per cent of the entire world’s generation.
About 60 per cent of Canada’s electricity in 2015 was produced by hydro with the remaining amount coming from wind, solar and biomass, according to the National Energy Board (NEB) report.
Shelley Milutinovic, chief economist at the board, said: “Canada’s hydro generation has allowed the country to be one of the global leaders in renewable energy for years.
“Now, as solar, wind and other technologies become more cost competitive, we expect to see a continuing increase in their adoption in the future.”
Only five other countries in the world — Norway, New Zealand, Brazil, Austria and Denmark — produce a similar or greater amount of renewable electricity.
In its report, the NEB said: “About 60 per cent of Canadian electricity came from hydro power in 2015, typically from large facilities with reservoirs.
“This type of hydro power is a valuable part of Canada’s generation mix, since it economically stores energy and moderates fluctuations from more intermittent renewable sources.
“Run-of-river projects do not require reservoirs and are less disruptive to water flows, but operate on a much smaller scale.”
It said wind power capacity had increased 20-fold between 2005 and 2015.
But it added: “The intermittency of wind generation is still a challenge for widespread adoption. One way of overcoming this difficulty is by trading electricity with neighbouring jurisdictions to help moderate generation fluctuations.
“This strategy allows Denmark to generate 50 per cent of its electricity from wind sources.”
Biomass provided about two per cent of the country’s electricity, while solar contributed just 0.5 per cent.
“Other renewable technologies, such as offshore wind, tidal power, and geothermal energy, have not experienced significant uptake in Canada, but still have potential,” the report said.
“Offshore wind projects are being proposed on Canada’s west and east coasts, and a 20-megawatt tidal power facility already exists in Nova Scotia.
“Large scale geothermal energy may be possible on Canada’s west coast by harnessing the ‘Ring of Fire’ around the Pacific Ocean. Geothermal projects are also being considered in isolated northern communities, which would benefit from combined heat and power.”
The report said renewables were “becoming more cost competitive” and their low carbon emissions “have also aligned them with current policy priorities”.
“As a result, the increased adoption of renewables is expected to continue in Canada and abroad,” the NEB added.