We live in an era of rapid and wide-reaching change, and one of the most fundamental transitions underway today is in how we generate, manage and use energy. This transition is being driven by technological innovation, changing consumer preferences, and environmental imperatives like climate change.
The energy transition is moving us towards a future that will prioritize energy efficiency and rely much more heavily on decarbonized electricity, produced in an increasingly decentralized manner from a growing diversity of energy sources. Our vision at the Canadian Renewable Energy Association is to ensure that wind energy, solar energy and energy storage play a central role in this accelerating transformation of Canada’s energy mix.
More than 80% of Canada’s electricity system is already non-greenhouse gas emitting and an affordable, reliable, and fully decarbonized electricity grid is within our grasp. Expansion of our now well-established wind energy and solar energy industries, coupled with further deployment of energy storage, is one of the most promising strategies to reach this objective.
Wind and solar energy are already cost competitive with conventional sources of electricity generation. In fact, wind energy is now Canada’s lowest-cost source of new generating capacity and has been the largest source of new capacity in Canada for a decade. Solar energy costs have fallen 90% in the last decade and continue to decline at a rapid rate.
Our wind and solar resources are well distributed across Canada and are now providing significant investment, jobs, and economic benefits in both rural and urban communities across the country. The active participation of Indigenous communities in project ownership and deployment is also growing rapidly.
Modern grid management, particularly with the addition of energy storage capacity, enables the integration of large proportions of wind and solar energy without impacting grid reliability. Synergies between wind energy, solar energy and energy storage also mean that these technologies can provide a broader range of services to the grid when used in a coordinated manner that reduce overall electricity system costs.
These technologies can also be deployed to deliver power at multiple scales – through large wind and solar farms or in a more focused manner to meet the needs of households, communities, or microgrids. Consumers, be they individuals, businesses, or institutions, are increasingly looking to generate or secure their power from these sources.
Canada is fortunate to have massive untapped renewable energy resources, including wind and solar, and that means that Canada’s future decarbonized electricity grid can also be expanded significantly to substitute for the use of fossil fuels in transportation, buildings and industrial processes like hydrogen production. This will be essential if Canada is to reach its objective of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Canada’s ongoing energy transition is poised to take us to a fundamentally different and dramatically better future powered by clean, affordable, reliable and scalable electricity where Canada’s wind and solar resources in conjunction with energy storage will play a central role.
Learn more about our technologies in Canada today in By the Numbers.
BloombergNEF projects that wind and solar will supply almost 50% of world electricity by 2050 (“50-by-50”), ending the era of fossil fuel dominance in the power sector.
BloombergNEF, New Energy Outlook 2019
“New solar photovoltaic and onshore wind power are on the verge of costing less than the marginal operating cost of existing coal-fired plants. Steadily improving competitiveness has made renewables the backbone of the world’s energy transformation.”
International Renewable Energy Agency, Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2018
Between now and 2050, expansion of global electricity generating capacity requires about $13.3 trillion of new investment – 77% of which will go to wind, solar and batteries.
BloombergNEF, New Energy Outlook 2019