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

Updated: Highway 97 reopens to traffic, Peachland fire crews monitor fires this morning

Crews continue to battle the 1,000 hectare Mount Eneas blaze south of Peachland

Update: Wildfire crews continue to fight fire near West Kelowna

Evacuation alerts are in effect for properties in the Glenrosa area

Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire “stable” this morning

An evacuation alert remains in effect for those on Lakeshore Road

Show of union solidarity on casino picket lines

Labour movement to back striking BCGEU workers in protest on Saturday

Updated: Complete list of B.C. Interior wildfire coverage

Up-to-date information on blazes happening the Kamloops Wildfire Centre

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Friday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Five small fires burn east of Oliver

At least one of the fires is suspected of being human caused

Seal attacks kayakers in the Broughton Archipelago

“It has to be one chance in a million of this happening.”

Victoria-area park sign removed after glitch redirects to porn site

Resident looking to learn more about workout equipment discovered the problem code

Five fires continue to burn near Keremeos

There are five fires in high elevation burning near Keremeos

Special Olympic athletes take on BC Games during special anniversary

Known as the Global Day of Inclusion, July 20 marks the first Special Olympics in 1968 in Chicago

Scammers dressed as Mounties threaten to arrest senior if she doesn’t cough up cash

Pair of fraudulent officers threaten to arrest 90-year-old woman

Fundraiser to help mom of jogger detained after crossing U.S. border

Cedella Roman, 19, was held in U.S. after accidentally crossing border in South Surrey

Trump slams Federal Reserve rate hikes

Fed raised benchmark rate for a second time this year in June, and projects two more hikes to come

Most Read