Two thirds of electricity in Canada now comes from renewable energy

Renewable energy soaring: report

OTTAWA — Two-thirds of Canada’s electricity supply now comes from renewable sources such as hydro and wind power, the National Energy Board said in a report released Tuesday.

Renewable energy production jumped 17 per cent between 2005 and 2015. The portion of all electricity in Canada generated by renewables is now 66 per cent, up from 60 per cent a decade earlier.

“I think people don’t understand just how much of our generation is the renewables,” said NEB chief economist Shelley Milutinovic. “Probably very few people would know Canada produces the second most hydro in the world.”

In 2015, China produced 29 per cent of the world’s hydroelectric power, followed by Canada at 10 per cent.

In terms of all renewable energy, Canada ranks fourth in production, behind China, the United States and Brazil.

Hydroelectricity accounts for the majority of renewable electricity, with 60 per cent of all electricity in Canada coming from hydro. Wind power accounted for 4.4 per cent, biomass power was 1.9 per cent and solar power was 0.5 per cent.

Biomass power comes from burning organic waste such as wood pellets or methane gas produced by landfills.

Non-renewable energy accounted for the rest, with 16 per cent coming from nuclear power, about 10 per cent from coal and nine per cent from natural gas.

Ontario fully phased out its coal plants in this decade, with the last one closing entirely in 2014, dropping coal’s share of Canada’s electrical supply to 10 per cent from 16 per cent.

Hydro generation grew eight per cent between 2005 and 2015 but its overall share of the power generated in Canada remained constant at 60 per cent.

Wind power saw the biggest growth in the decade. In 2005 Canada produced less than 2,000 gigawatt hours of wind power, which accounted for just 0.5 per cent of all power. In 2015, it produced 20 times as much, more than 28,500 gigawatt hours, which amounted to 4.4 per cent of power generation.

A gigawatt hour of power is the equivalent of one million kilowatt hours. A kilowatt hour of power is the amount used to burn a 100 watt light bulb for 10 hours.

Canada is the seventh-largest producer of wind power in the world.

In 2005, Canada produced almost no solar power at all. In 2015 it produced more than 3,000 gigawatt hours. Ninety-eight per cent of all Canadian solar production is in Ontario, where financial incentives drove the installation of new solar power plants.

In 2015, Canada installed 600 megawatts of new solar capacity, the 10th largest increase in solar installations in the world. China, however, added 15,200 megawatts.

The cost of solar production is the main barrier to new installations.

Chris Barrington-Leigh, a professor at McGill University’s School of Environment, has done an analysis of the potential for growth in renewable energy production in Canada, said 2015 was a record year for new installations of renewable energy around the world.

He called Canada’s renewable growth “a good start” but said the aim is to get to 100 per cent.

Electricity generation was responsible for about 80 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2015. Hydro, wind and solar power do not produce emissions from generating electricity, although there are emissions associated with producing and installing the equipment.

Barrington-Leigh said Canada has a lot of land without a large population, which makes it an ideal country to be able to get to 100 per cent renewable energy.

The report notes the main barriers to expanding renewable energy is concern about the price for consumers, as well as reliability.

—follow @mrabson on Twitter



Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Kelowna’s South Perimeter Road project to go ahead

Project to extend Gordon Drive doesn’t get enough signatures to keep it from moving ahead

Fleeing driver leaves behind severely damaged car

West Kelowna crash occurred at Highway 97 South junction

Dozens of impaired Kelowna drivers ticketed on St. Patrick’s Day

Kelowna RCMP stopped many vehicles for impaired driving during a one day blitz

Suspect in custody following slew of hit-and-runs

Truck stolen from Armstrong allegedly used in multiple incidents between Lake Country and Kelowna

City recommendation stinks says Kelowna developer

Troika Developments upset about city’s about-face on support of its Diamond Mountain project

Kelowna boy donates hair to charity

An eight-year-old kicks off spring break with a buzz cut for charity

Search and rescue help injured sledders off Owlhead

Volunteer searchers also locate two hikers near Little Shuswap Lake

Suspect who attacked autistic man in Ontario could be from B.C.’s south coast: police

29-year-old man was sent to hospital with serious injuries

Privacy watchdog to explore Facebook leak

Canadian expert says his analytics company helped Trump campaign capitalize on private Facebook info

Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle

Ride-hailing company suspends all road-testing of such vehicles in U.S. and Canada

Canadian Hall of Fame trio rocks the Okanagan

The Stampeders transport Vernon and Kelowna audiences to a time of tie-dye rock n’ roll

Spring melt uncovers dirty needles in Vernon

Vernon residents upset with number of needles being found around town with spring melt

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Dube named WHL player of the week

Kelowna Rockets forward enjoys strong finish to 2017-18 regular season

Most Read