All Canadians have access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy
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Why is this issue important
Canada already has one of the world's cleanest electricity systems, and clean technology is bringing innovative energy solutions to the forefront. To continue making progress, we need to accelerate the development and adoption of renewable energy and other clean energy, and continue to reduce energy consumption through improved efficiencies. In addition to supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy, a cleaner energy system also provides benefits such as healthier homes, more resilient infrastructure and ecosystems and jobs for Canadians across the country.
To support the transition to a clean energy future, we will work with partners to generate cleaner power, use more renewable fuels and produce cleaner oil and gas. We will also work to help Indigenous and northern communities reduce their reliance on diesel for electricity and heat.
Increasing energy efficiency is also an important way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while saving money and increasing competitiveness. Saving energy now reduces the need for additional generating capacity in the future. According to the International Energy Agency, energy efficiency measures and technology innovation have the potential to keep Canada's energy demand on a steady decline to 2050, despite rising economic activity. We will continue to support Canadians in making their homes and businesses more energy efficient through measures such as energy labelling of appliances and vehicles, EnerGuide home evaluations, and energy efficiency tools and standards for industry.
Reducing reliance on diesel in rural and remote communities
Canada's remote communities rely on diesel fuel for electricity generation and heat, which is costly and emits greenhouse gases. As part of our support for the Pan-Canadian Framework for Clean Growth and Climate Change, we are making investments to help rural and remote communities reduce their reliance on diesel and transition toward more secure, affordable and clean energy. This includes working directly with communities and project proponents through Natural Resources Canada's Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities Program.
Canada's Energy Future
Building on the largest national conversation about energy in Canada's history, the Generation Energy Council's June 2018 report articulated a vision of Canada' energy transition and outlined actions that Canadians could take over the next generation to build a low carbon future. It identified 4 foundational pathways that will drive the transition to a low-carbon future, including energy efficiency, clean electrification, cleaner fuels, and cleaner oil and gas.
Taking into account the Generation Energy Council's vision, Canada's energy future is being built on 4 principles:
1) Saving Energy
2) Powering Clean Communities
3) Using More Renewable Fuels
4) Powering the World
These principles are based on the foundations of partnering with provinces and territories, collaborating with Indigenous peoples, building the energy workforce of tomorrow and empowering Canadians' energy choices. More information can be found at canada.ca/energy-future
Canada in the world
Investing in clean energy supports the 2030 Agenda and its global Sustainable Development Goals—in particular SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy; SDG 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; and SDG 12, Responsible Consumption and Production. It also supports specific SDG targets, as well as other international agreements and initiatives.
For details on how this goal supports international action, see Annex 3.
Connections with other FSDS areas
Clean energy innovation supports FSDS targets related to climate action, infrastructure, clean growth and innovation:
- investing in energy technology innovation will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and support a sustainable environment
- investing in energy infrastructure will support Canada's energy system by better utilizing the existing energy supply and fostering innovation
- investing in clean growth will support Canadian clean energy technology companies, fostering competitiveness and creating new opportunities and clean jobs
We work with provinces and territories to implement initiatives under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change to support the transition to a low-carbon economy. With energy production and consumption accounting for most of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions, energy sector initiatives are key to meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Provinces and territories are implementing measures to increase their share of renewable energy. For example:
- Alberta has committed to add 5000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity through its 2030 Climate Leadership Plan to replace coal-fired electricity generation with cleaner energy sources
- Saskatchewan has committed to increasing renewable electricity generation from 25% in 2017 to as much as 50% by 2030, which will include increasing current wind generation from 221 megawatts to 2 100 megawatts by 2030 and adding 60 megawatts of solar generation by 2021
- Prince Edward Island is a world leader in generating clean electricity from wind—the province now has a total installed wind capacity of 78% of peak load, which supplies almost 25% of its total electricity requirements
Indigenous communities and organizations also play an active role in clean energy projects across the country. For example:
- Indigenous Clean Energy helps to advance Indigenous inclusion in Canada's energy economy through Indigenous leadership, and in collaboration with energy companies, utilities, governments, development firms, clean technology innovators, academics, and capital markets
- Gwich'in Council International has developed an Arctic Sustainable Energy Toolkit to guide communities in developing their own comprehensive community plans with step-by-step preparations that use best practices, resource guides, and case studies to help community members create and implement their energy visions
Partners taking action - Harnessing the sun's power north of the polar circle
Sree Vyàa is an innovative 480-kilowatt solar project that the Vuntut Gwitchin Government is developing for Old Crow, Yukon. The system will reduce the community's diesel use by 190 000 litres a year and will meet 100% of the community's electricity needs on sunny summer days.
Partners taking action - Idénergie
Idénergie is a Montreal-based company whose aim is to make renewable energy available to all and make energy autonomy easier for individuals and communities. Idénergie is now about to commercialize a renewable energy platform integrating electrical signal correction, remote control, solar power and residential battery management, leading to energy savings and increased renewable energy uptake on the electrical grid.
Responsible minister/Key departments and agencies
Minister of Natural Resources/Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency; Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada; Department of Finance Canada; Environment and Climate Change Canada; Indigenous Services Canada; Natural Resources Canada; National Research Council Canada; Infrastructure Canada
Canada's starting point
- To measure our progress on clean energy, we track the proportion of Canada's electricity generation that comes from renewable and non-emitting sources. In 2016, 66% of Canada's electricity came from renewable sources (including hydro, solar and wind) and 81% came from non-emitting sources (including both renewables and nuclear).
- To measure our progress on energy efficiency, we measure the difference between energy use with and without energy efficiency improvements and the corresponding greenhouse gas emissions avoided. From 1990 to 2016, energy efficiency in Canada improved 31.4%, which saved 2100 petajoules, or $45 billion in energy costs, and avoided 112.1 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2016.