Minister Wilkinson Welcomes the Canada Electricity Advisory Council Final Report to Help Build Canada’s Clean Electricity Future

June 14, 2024

From Natural Resources Canada

A clean electricity grid is central to our fight against climate change. In fact, studies show we will not meet net-zero emissions by 2050 without decarbonizing our grid. Equally important is growing the size of the grid to meet the needs of current and future Canadian homes and businesses, which projections show could more than double by 2050 in a net-zero context.

Successfully meeting our clean electricity goals is not only a priority for the Government of Canada but could deliver nearly 40 percent of our long-term climate targets.

Critically, these goals must be achieved in a manner that ensures electricity is affordable and reliable. Canadians in every corner of the country must be able to conveniently and affordably heat their homes, turn on their lights and drive their vehicles, and this federal government has been working hard to ensure electricity across the country is reliable, affordable and clean.

Today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, welcomed the release of Powering Canada: A Blueprint for Success, the final report from the Canada Electricity Advisory Council. The report lays out the Council’s findings and provides 28 recommendations to inform future Government of Canada policy initiatives.

Launched in May 2023, the Canada Electricity Advisory Council is an independent panel of electricity sector subject matter experts from every region of the country, chaired by Philippe Dunsky. Council members included Indigenous partners, electricity sector utilities, regulators and think tanks. Over the Council’s one-year mandate, it undertook 80 meetings and engagement with over 100 partners.

The consensus recommendations in the report of the independent Council speak to the need to both address climate change and ensure we seize the massive economic opportunities enabled through the transition to a low-carbon economy. The report highlights that a clean, reliable grid will save Canadians money into the future.

With over 80 percent of Canada’s electricity already emissions-free, Canada starts from a place of strength, which we can leverage to ensure continued success and prosperity. For example, Canada’s non-emitting grids have been key to securing over $50 billion in investments in the electric vehicle supply chain in the last two years alone and will be crucial to Canada’s success in the emerging global hydrogen market.

We thank the Council for the significant and important work it has done over this past year and for the guidance provided in its final report. Not only will these recommendations support the federal government as we move to bring forward the next steps to bring non-emitting, affordable energy to Canadians — including Canada’s first Clean Electricity Strategy, expected later this year — but they will also provide direction for provinces, territories, utilities, and stakeholders across the country.

The Canada Electricity Advisory Council’s final report can be viewed on the NRCan / CEAC website.  

Quotes

“I thank the Council members for their work and recommendations. The role of electricity is central to Canada’s clean energy future, and building out a clean electricity system will help us fight climate change and power a prosperous Canadian net-zero economy. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with provinces, territories, Indigenous partners, industry and experts on this crucial work.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Energy and Natural Resources

“Building a clean, affordable, and reliable electricity system is at the foundation of Canada’s efforts to tackle climate change and presents a generational opportunity to drive clean economic growth across the country for decades to come. Just as the United States and other G7 partners are doing, we need to make supporting the low-carbon economy a priority. Setting new rules for cleaner power plants is already stimulating investments in lower-cost renewable energy and positioning Canada to be a global clean energy superpower. The advice from Canada’s Electricity Advisory Council will help to ensure we get the details right in this important work, including by providing provinces and territories the flexibility they need to continue to deliver affordable, reliable power.”

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environmental and Climate Change

“Canada is starting from a place of strength. If any country in the world can succeed in this transition, it is ours. But as we move forward, we need to be deliberate, thoughtful, mindful of regional differences and ready to rethink old ways of thinking and doing. By being clearer about where we’re going, by boldly acting to cut red tape and by investing strategically, we can win the race to an economy powered by clean, competitive electricity.”

Philippe Dunsky
President, Dunsky Energy + Climate Advisors
Chair, Canada Electricity Advisory Council

Quick facts

  • Canada is ahead. Approximately four in five Canadians live in provinces where electricity is already largely decarbonized (more than 90 percent non-emitting). Electricity supply varies across the country, and provinces and territories — which have jurisdiction over their electricity systems — may follow different paths as they move toward expanded and cleaner grids.
  • Canada’s challenge is twofold: complete the process of decarbonizing our electricity, and grow our clean power supplies to meet the fast-growing demands of Canadian households, business and industry.
  • To achieve its goals, Canada needs to rapidly expand its buildout of clean electricity infrastructure, roughly doubling it in a generation.
  • Meeting Canada’s clean electricity goals alone can deliver nearly 40 percent of the country’s long-term climate commitments while powering a stronger, growth-oriented economy.
  • If it is to succeed, the transition must be affordable and cost-competitive. Analysis prepared for the Council suggests this is possible, in large part because of the fuel savings that new electricity will create. By 2050, more than seven in 10 Canadian households can be expected to see net cost-savings as a result of switching to clean electricity, if the right measures are adopted and well executed.
  • By embracing Indigenous Nations and communities as full partners in these projects, Canada has a unique opportunity to begin repairing the unequal relationship that has long dominated energy and resource development and to harness a powerful force for reconciliation.
  • Federal-provincial-territorial collaboration is vital if all parts of Canada are to succeed. While the federal government can enable and support an effective, affordable, reliable and inclusive transition, most authority over electricity is and shall remain vested with provinces and territories.
  • Launched in May 2023, the Clean Electricity Advisory Council is a panel of electricity sector subject-matter experts from every region of the country. Council members included primarily senior electricity sector leaders, as well as Indigenous partners and thought leaders.
  • The Council’s mandate was to explore and provide independent advice to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and the Government of Canada on how federal policy can enable the growth and decarbonization of Canada’s electricity systems, in collaboration with the provinces, territories and with Indigenous partners.
  • Throughout its one-year mandate, the Council held over 80 meetings and engaged with over 100 partners and stakeholders to better understand the opportunities, barriers and needs associated with Canada’s electricity systems. These meetings included provincial and territorial governments, federal officials, Indigenous partners and organizations, electric utilities, power producers, system operators, regulators, industry, think tanks, civil society organizations and members of the public.

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