Canada expected to miss its 2035 clean electricity goals

OTTAWA - GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Canada Power Market Size and Trends by Installed Capacity, Generation, Transmission, Distribution and Technology, Regulations, Key Players and Forecast, 2022-2035’, discusses the power market structure of Canada and provides historical and forecast numbers for capacity, generation and consumption up to 2035. Detailed analysis of the country’s power market regulatory structure, competitive landscape and a list of major power plants are provided. The report also gives a snapshot of the power sector in the country on broad parameters of macroeconomics, supply security, generation infrastructure, transmission and distribution infrastructure, electricity import and export scenario, degree of competition, regulatory scenario, and future potential. An analysis of the deals in the country’s power sector is also included in the report.

Canada is expected to fall short of its 2035 clean electricity target after reviewing the country’s current renewable capacity activity. The country has targeted to produce nearly 100% of its electricity from zero-emitting sources by 2035, however, the country is adding only 2.6GW of annual renewable capacity additions on average every year, which would mean a cumulative shortfall of 48.4GW.

Canada has good governmental support, but it is not doing enough to ensure its targets are met. If the country is to meet its target to produce nearly 100% of electricity from zero-emitting sources by 2035, the country should both increase the capacity and efficiency of renewable power plants, as well as provide comprehensive end-to-end policies at both the federal and provincial levels. It should also involve communities and businesses in raising awareness of the benefits of adopting renewable energy.

The country has a large amount of proven natural gas and oil reserves that are proving too tempting an opportunity, and the Canadian Government is planning to increase the capacity of its gas-based plants to secure real-time demand and supply. However, the country’s dependency on gas-based plants creates a major challenge to achieve its 2035 clean electricity target.

If the Canadian Government is to meet its 2035 targets, it should draw on examples from its European counterparts and add renewable capacity at a rapid pace. One advantage for Canada here is that it does not have land constraints, which is common in other major renewable power-generating countries. This could give the country an estimated 6.1GW of renewable capacity every year on average during the 2021-2035 period: enough capacity to meet its target. Most of these installations are expected to be for wind and solar PV.

Changing provincial governments are not helpful when it comes to implementing long-term projects and continued stopping and starting of projects like this will only be damaging to renewable goals. Another way the country can achieve its target is by converting thermal power plants into clean energy plants and providing a roadmap or timeline for provinces to retire thermal power plants completely.

Canada’s GDP (at constant prices) increased from $1,617.3bn in 2010 to $1,924.5bn in 2021, at a CAGR of 1.6%. The GDP (at constant prices) of the country declined sharply from $1,943.8bn in 2019 to $1,840.5bn in 2020 because of Covid-19 pandemic. After the recommencement of regular industrial and trade activities, the GDP grew by 4.6% in 2021 from 2020. The GDP is expected to cross pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022.


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