Canada’s energy could go green sooner than we thought.
In a milestone announcement, Canada’s National Energy Board says it believes the country’s demand for fossil fuels will peak in 2019, after which it will gradually decline before leveling within the next 20 years.
Fossil fuels, like oil and natural gas, have never peaked in Canada before. We still rely on these energy sources for fuel to run vehicles and heat our homes, and until this year, it was projected that demand would continue. Just last year, the National Energy Board predicted that growth would continue until at least 2040.
But with major policy changes and advancements in renewable energy technology, Canada will now start trending away from fossil fuels as early as two years from now.
The National Energy Board attributes the change to three main factors: climate change policy, improved energy efficiency, and slower economic and population growth projections for Canada.
The past two years have seen major policy announcements regarding clean energy and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Last December, the federal government signed the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, outlining various actions to cut emissions by 30% in time for Canada’s climate obligations in 2030. It also agreed to joint action with the United States to reduce methane in the oil and gas sector in March 2016, and released new emissions standards for all new heavy-duty vehicles post-2018.
The government also amended regulations to end all traditional coal-fired electricity generation by 2030.
This prediction on oil demand comes from the National Energy Board’s Energy Futures report, an annual publication which uses economic and energy models to to make projections based on various trends related to technology, energy, climate policies, human behaviour, and the economy.
The growth in renewable energy technology has increased in the past decade in Canada, and the board sees this continuing. It predicts wind production will double, and solar energy will more than triple, within the next 25 years. The board also sees electric vehicles as accounting for 3% of all vehicle sales in Canada by 2020, and 16% by 2040. Today, electric vehicles make up less than 1% of vehicle sales.
The National Energy Board is an independent regulatory body. It governs construction and operation of cross-border pipelines and powerlines, energy imports, and the oil and gas industries in Canada. The report is intended as an impartial assessment of energy in the country, and its predictions are intended to inform future policy on energy in Canada.