It’s not that we aren’t conscious of our energy consumption. With rising energy bills, Canadians are more aware of their usage habits than ever. It’s our dispersed population, long travel distances, cold winters, and energy-based economy that make Canada a huge consumer of energy.
By taking advantage of renewable resources, Canada can meet rising demands and reduce environmental impact while building a stable, competitive, and sustainable economy.
Renewable energy comes from natural resources that replenish naturally within a human energy. Countries around the globe are embracing renewable technology, investing over $325 billion in 2015.
In just one hour, the sun beams more than enough energy onto the Earth to satisfy the world’s energy needs for an entire year. The cost of producing solar energy has declined in recent years, encouraging businesses and individuals to adopt solar technology in both large and small-scale installations. Canada ranks 10th in the world for solar installations.
Wind is the fastest-growing source of electricity in Canada. Wind turbines harness the kinetic energy of moving air to generate electricity, working best in open areas with consistently high wind patterns. The cost of wind energy has declined by 69% since 2009, making it the most affordable renewable resource to produce in Canada.
Tidal barrages and tidal stream technology can harness the rhythm of rising tides to generate an endless supply of electricity. While tidal power is currently underutilized, Canada hosts a number of ideal locations for tidal energy installations.
Hydrogen fuel cells are flexible, efficient, and produce no greenhouse gas emissions. In 2016, Canada’s growing hydrogen fuel industry employed 1,785 people and generates $220 million in revenue. This resource could revolutionize how we store, move, and deliver energy in Canada.
Global climate change poses a profound, long-term threat to the Canadian economy. Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels are by far the biggest culprit for greenhouse gasses that cause climate change. Slowing the impact of climate change means reducing these emissions.
While Canada is a pioneer in renewable technology, we still have a long way to go in reducing our environmental impact. In Canada, more than 65% of electricity comes from renewable energy sources. However, when you account for energy use overall (including heating, transportation, and manufacturing), over 80% of Canada’s energy use comes from fossil fuels.
To meet its commitment to reducing greenhouse gases, Canada must replace fossil fuels with clean, renewable energy sources in all sectors of the economy. Renewable energy already provides most of Canada’s electricity. By expanding the use of wind, solar and tidal power, and building infrastructure for electric and hydrogen-fuelled vehicles, Canada can continue to reduce its reliance on greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels.
Impact on the Cost of Electricity
It’s not just the environment that benefits from renewable energy. These resources can help buffer the Canadian economy against fluctuations in the price of fossil fuels.
Currently, Canadians are fortunate to have some of the lowest electricity rates in the world. However, electricity prices have been on the rise, and will likely continue to increase moving forward.
The growing affordability crisis is made worse by our aging energy infrastructure. In Ontario, the demand for electricity continues to rise while 80% of the provinces generating capacity is wearing out or set to be shut down for environmental reasons. Over 24,000 MW of capacity will have to be replaced over the next 20 years.
Renewable energy is infinite, meaning it is safe from much of the volatility that impacts the energy market today. Adding new resources like solar, wind and tidal power will provide a stable and affordable source of electricity for years to come.